White Roses, Black Hearts

As a Yorkshireman, if you were to think of the region’s best dark beers, say for seasonal purposes, I wonder how many of you would name these two tykes? After recently having both in my beer stash at the same time, I revisited both beers as the air turned a little colder, and tried to tot up the awards these two classics had amassed in their histories so far.

As it happened, I couldn’t find a definitive answer as to how many awards Acorn’s Gorlovka (6%abv) had won. It seems ever-present on ‘best of’ lists, lusted after on cask during Autumn and Winter, and its one of the best Stouts from Yorkshire, in my opinion. A strong stout named after Barnsley’s Ukrainian Twin Town, Gorlovka is full of Black Cherry and Raisin notes in the body, with an undercurrent of Almond making up the spine of the beer. There’s Liquorice in the nose, and it’s all over the finish, along with a streak of drying Coffee. The alcohol is well-hidden, and it’s a moreish, full-on beer. Manna from heaven at this time of year; the fruity flavours rolling around within Gorlovka make it slightly more than ‘just a Stout‘.

Elland 1872 Porter (6.5% abv) passes my ‘porter test’ straight away; I want to see a flash of ruby in that body when held to the light – call me old-fashioned, but there you go. Bottle-conditioned, 1872 has a lot of ‘life’; but I’m certainly not talking about being fizzy. I’m referring to life in flavour; everything sort of jumps around on your tongue. Push through that tight head – the shade of espresso Crema – and you’ll find oakiness,with a slightly sour tang that rides over the top of more red, porty (see what I did there), fruity notes. Just when you get your head around that, the whole things flips over for a soft, but juicy, lip-smacking finish. It’s not too dry, not too smoky, not too rich, and not too thin. Also, despite being a little lighter than Gorlovka, it’s got way more Dark Chocolate notes zipping around in the finish. It seems slightly more vinous in a bottle than in cask; either way, I find both hard to pass up when they pop up in Pubs across Yorkshire. Keep an eye out, if you’ve not had the pleasure of trying them.


About leighgoodstuff

Blog: https://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 23/11/2011, in Beer and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We’ve had these two on in my local quite a few times and I completely agree with you here, great beers. My particular favourite is the 1872, despite it’s strength it’s so dangerously easy to drink, I even wrote a quick post myself about it back it last surfaced.

    Have you tried any of the Coastal range of strong ales, stouts & porters, not from Yorkshire so not totally relevant to your post, but I think you’d enjoy them?


    • Hi Phil, always good to hear from you. Coastal – no I haven’t – given thier proximity, you’d think I would. I’ll keep an eye out.

  2. Had our first taste of Coastal a week or two back. Very impressive indeed. Will be seeking more out. (Why is it so hard to find Cornish beer in Cornwall? Because St Austell have everything in a terrifying Darth Vader style death grip. Good job their beer is nice, too.)

    Was surprised to read the Beer Nut being underwhelmed by Gorlovka while judging the Champion Beer of Belfast. (Although we never like the same beers.) We loved it when we had it at the CAMRA winter beer festival in Manchester a couple of years back.

  3. Glad you liked the Coastal great beers Bailey, it is odd that you can’t get them in Cornwall, we get them regularly up in the Potteries & Cheshire area. Maybe it’s because the head brewer used to run and brew small scale at the Borough Arms in Crewe so there’s a link?

    Saying that, I have a similar problem with Buxton Brewery,Buxton is only probably 20 miles from here but every man and his dog had them on sale but here, I’ve still not seen any cask in Stoke apart from the 2011 beer fest.

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