Thursday, 2 January 2014

Barrel Aged St. Petersburg (9%) by Thornbridge

Now I must admit to being no fan of Christmas ales. Cinnamon, twigs and holly berries or whatever are not the sort of extra flavours I want in my pint. For me, Winter is about really good dark beers and you cannot beat an Imperial Stout.

St. Petersburg started life as a 7.7% monster before being trimmed to 7.4% to avoid the extra tax aka the `tramp tax`. However, this one is bigger still. Having been stored away in oak barrels for 2 years, Barrel Aged St. Petersburg weighs in at an impressive 9% and so decent value at the £5 price tag that the Cross SCYTHES had put on it.

With a strong line-up on the pre-New Year bar, I opted to start with a Thornbridge Chiron on keg (5.5/10) and then a pretty decent Kama Citra (6.5/10) from Elland as the Halcyon had just finished. Next up was the 1872 Porter (9/10) which was the 2013 Champion Beer of Britain for Elland. A really great drink that is full of complex flavours but very drinkable belying its 6.5% volume. The star of the show was always going to be the St. P though, or was it?

Recently, when I have had this 7.4% Russian Imperial Stout on cask and keg (at GREYSTONES and COACH n HORSES) it has not been quite balanced and just too boozy for my palate but in this version that is not an issue. There`s always a danger of this type of beer being too dominated by the alcohol, which I found with the Arbor Moor Double DARK ALLIANCE earlier in the year.  However, this one pours deep and dark with a creamy-coloured head. Time spent maturing in French oak barrels has pleasingly resulted in a smoother, fuller taste that is better rounded than previous versions in my opinion.
Worryingly, it did look as though Thornbridge were not doing anything special and strong for Christmas (not counting their Myrissty, etc.) after being blessed last year with the likes of the previously reviewed Imperial OATMEAL and the Chilli MOCHA but this certainly fits the bill. Clearly, THORNBRIDGE`s best cask beer of 2013 and I`m going back for more!
Mike - 9

(AND, btw, that concealed raffle ticket was 136 and a winner in their New Year Quiz!) :-)

1 comment:

  1. Love this beer! Although have to say I disagree with you on the Christmas ales front, love a good winter warmer :)