A long time ago, back when I was first starting this blog, I reviewed the majority of Black Isle Brewery’s, readily available core range. Their specials are rather hard to find online and in bottle shops so it was only fair to pay them a visit while I was up in Scotland a couple weeks back. I picked up a whole host of brews that I will be trying over the coming weeks but this bad boy I had to have right away. ‘The Big Sleep’ is a 12% Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. It’s an amped up version of their core beer Hibernator (review pending) and then aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels over winter. It’s the first beer I’ve had that came with a cork and I had the pleasure of sharing it with my family while watching the footy!
Visually the beer pours midnight black with a light tan head. Classic, pungent aroma of light dark chocolate and coffee. The first hit of flavour is that of an espresso. The main body is insanely smooth and creamy courtesy of the oatmeal I imagine. There is a light roasty bitterness throughout and the bourbon flavours imparted from the barrels are most definitely evident. What is truly incredible is how well the alcohol is hidden. Very easy drinking all things considered.
A quick note on the bottle art: Visually amazing with the shiny, bronze complimenting the black well. The imagine of that sleeping bear is very much how you’d feel after a couple glasses of this.
Hands down one of the best beers I’ve ever had. At 12% ABV that beer has no right to be so smooth and so easy to drink. Even with the hints of bourbon from start to finish at no point did it feel incredibly alcoholic. The core of the beer was fantastically rich with amazing dark chocolate and coffee flavours. Going for an oatmeal stout was definitely the right call as the silky texture and oaty taste it added was delicious. I can also see this pairing very well with a meal, like a glass of wine. Every single person who tried this beer, even the non stout drinkers, agreed that it was pretty much faultless. I sorely wish I had known how good it was going to be so I could have grabbed another bottle to save for a special occasion. I believe it was definitely worth the price tag.
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- Hops: Not Available
- Malt: Not Available
- IBU: Not Available
- ABV: 12%
- Gluten Free: No
- Vegan: Yes!
- Purchase Location: Black Isle Brewery
- Purchase Price: £16