Thursday, 10 March 2011

Baltic Night (Compass)

Pours smooth with an inky pitch soul, there's enough black depth here to interest Stephen Hawking.

A suggestion of a rusty head soon evaporates to nought, leaving a few roast and barley tones in the breeze and a considerable air of threat. Also, unusually for a stout a clutch of hops dances on the nose.

The sip is quite extraordinary. Typically with the stouts we've had, hearty big dark flavours come along all together, and mosh for attention in robust tapestries of taste. Baltic Night though is an altogether more subtle affair. It's roasty and bitter, but smooooth. Coffee tones slide in like an advanced driver overtaking on a rainy night, before a simple yet very effective dry chocolatey finish closes the deal.

It's altogether the most cohesive and well planned stout I think I've had. Everything here fits like gears in a swiss clock. There's very little of the classic stout 'munch', and more a craft-beer style invitation to sip again. This is dark beer by design.

This 4.8%abv Compass ale has won the odd award and rightly so. It's delightful to sip by itself, but I'd suggest this is one stout very suitable for accompanying rich food, without bulldozering the palate.

8/10 - Delicate and designed to delight, this is a Bang and Olufsen stout, brewed with care and intention.

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