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Stock Clearance #4 - Tempest Brew Co. Old Parochial

"The downfall of being a great beer lover and enthusiast is a tendency to hoard. Nobody I know is as guilty of this as I. As such, I've come to realise in recent months that I really need to start working through my already sizeable bottle stock before purchasing anything else this year, if for no other reason than to try the beers I’ve spent my money on whilst they’re still at their best. Added to this is the realisation over the last few months – based on certain depressive life situations – that life is too short not to drink the great beers I have available to me. I also need to find new encouragement and inspiration to write again. I have never wanted this to be a beer review blog (with the exception of Advent) but all the above factors have led me to begin a series of “Stock Clearance” posts where I drink beers within my hoard that really need drinking for reasons that will be explained."

"I shall further clarify that my beer hoard started to grow around the turn of year between 2011 and 2012. To that point, most of my enjoyment of beer was spent within the confines of the pub or on a Saturday night in when the beer to be drunk in the evening was bought in the morning of the same day. The only beers that entered into “storage” were a bottle of Brewdog’s Abstrakt: 02 (that I think was eventually drunk sometime in 2012) and a Fuller’s Vintage 2008, purchased in 2009 and that is still in my hoard to this day."

The plethora of decent Scottish breweries that don’t seem to regularly make it down to their southern neighbours is perhaps early indication of what an independent Scotland will be like. Whilst I see nothing but rave reviews for breweries such as Cromarty, Highland and Tempest, I see very few of their ales available around my area. I bought from the excellent online shop Alesela for the first time last year, and wrote a review of some of the breweries I was experiencing for the first time then. It so happens that amongst that first purchase was an Imperial Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale from Tempest Brew Co, that was then long neglected for over a year, despite sounding delicious.

Brewed with Smoked Barley Malt, this beer has been blended after parts spending 6 months maturing in whiskey and sherry casks. It all sounds like great love and care has gone into a style not experimented enough with for me, or even respected enough. The labels instructs me to drink this fresh so I’ve already let the side down, though I suspect a bit of ageing will not have done this much harm.

Another beer review where I've decided to leave my unedited, grammatically poor, initial notes (where I create the word "mentholic") as they are. This is what I wrote: Deep dark brown and showing good carbonation. Sherry, bonfire toffee, caramel, whiskey, menthol, plenty of woodchip, oak, seaweed, dental floss, smoked meat. Oh my, it's like no beer I've ever tasted, and in this age of brewing that is a huge compliment. The blend of tank, bourbon and sherry aged beer is sumptuous. The first taste is sweet, caramelised and prune like that can only develop from the sherry casks. There's stewed plums, allspice and a little sharp bitterness. The after-taste though is full of the warming flavours of oakiness, roasted malts and a finish reminiscent of smoked fish. For whatever reason there's a marine quality to this beer that isn't unpleasant. Smoked fish and seaweed are all part of the party but not unwelcome. The finish is long and does tickle the throat but more in a mentholic way, rather than with alcohol burn. Tempest demand on the bottle that I drink this as fresh as possible and I am long past the Best Before date on the bottle, but I am scarcely sorry. It has aged with me well.


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