I only enjoyed one stout on St Patrick’s day this year – not that I’m one for that particular ritual – but by god, what a good one it was. It seems St Austell had gone on full offensive and fired a few bottles of these out for review over the week, and opening it brought a broad smile to my face. When you’re talking gifts, it’s not often that the beer you get lives up to expectation.
By all accounts, St Austell unearthed a recipe dating back to 1913 for this stout; launching it at the Beer & Mussel festival in St Merryn. Reading that, as I drunk, only had me salivating – a pint of this with a bowl of plain mussels, some crusty bread….
Anyway, enough of that particular daydream. If I could sum up the 1913 Cornish Stout (5.2% abv) in one word, it would be ‘Classy.‘ A slightly metallic nose, all earth and bark, followed by a juicy, raisin-laced body with hints of smoky malt in the sip. There’s a really interesting, moreish bonfire-toffee note running through the whole thing, too. The beer then blossoms into a sweet, silky and almost milk-chocolate-laced finish. You think it’s finished fairly sweetly until a rising bitterness appears in your throat, reminding you that it is, after all, a Stout. It’s a really interesting beer.
It’s probably one of the best, most well-balanced stouts I’ve tasted – and those of you who know me will (hopefully) know I don’t say those sorts of things just because the beer was free. I’m off to buy some more, and that says it all.