Today I cracked open the second of Shepherd Neame’s six beers waiting patiently in my fridge, awaiting my expert judgement that should not stop you from drinking them anyway. Remember that now. Today’s beer is called Double Stout, and I’m not sure if like it.
I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about dark beers except how to drink them to the point where I can’t drink any more, but I can do that with any beer, really, and the only stout that I really love to drink is Murphy’s Irish. I didn’t taste my first stout until I was already two years into drinking, I haven’t tasted more than a couple of others since, and after the many brilliant lagers I’ve had the privilege of sampling in my relatively short drinking career, stouts are just a little bit out of my comfort zone.
Double Stout is Shepherd Neame’s signature stout beer, and there’s a good reason why added they ‘double’ in the name. It’s an overwhelmingly stouty beer, if that makes any sense; it should be called ‘Thick Black Tar’. The stuff is opaque. The creamy head will glue itself to your moustache, and for the rest of the day your moustache will smell like the 5.2% ABV that Double Stout contains. It smells and tastes very, very strongly of very strong coffee, and goes down your throat like a cup of fizzy espresso. Then there’s the overwhelming, persistent aftertaste of liquorice and burnt malts and some other bittersweet chocolate fruitiness which is far from pleasant, at least to my tastebuds.
The recipe for this obstinate brew is almost as old as the Shepherd Neame brewery itself (which means it’s pretty fucking old), and the Double Stout should give you a good idea of what it was that the English were drinking a couple of hundred years ago. If that’s the case though, I’m glad to be alive in 2013, and I’m off to drink something else.