Williams Bros. Profanity Stout
It was the warm enthusiasm that accompanied Profanity Stout on both blogosphere and twittersphere that pricked my interest. As someone who, with the exception of Midnight Sun, tends to skip over the output from Alloa’s Williams Bros., this sounded like a beer to try. The wave of interest came as the beer paraded itself in the Great British Beer Hunt 2011 organised by Sainsbury’s. While it never made the final cut (unlike its stablemate, the lager-IPA hybrid Caesar Augustus) its reception prompted me to stock up before it vanished from the shelves.
The presentation is great. The bottle cap was stickered with the brewery’s logo, a thin strip depending from it and somewhat resembling a single garter flash. The grey and black label was never dull as arabesques danced in the background and, up front, the beer’s name was boldly declared, reinforced by the tagline of ‘deeply irreverent’. Turning the bottle slightly there was a digest surrounding the beer’s origins in two students that developed the recipe while studying brewing at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. These origins perhaps carry an echo of Finch by Natural Selection Brewing, another university project, although Profanity Stout is the first of a `Chapeau’ series whereby the cap will be doffed to amateur brewers.
To the beer, and it poured black with a decent beige head that soon reduced leaving a nice lacing on the glass. In the light, however, this black liquid revealed itself to be nearer dark chestnut. On the nose, there were hints of sweet chocolate and roast coffee and something else, less distinct, but jostling for attention. The chocolate and coffee are to be expected of a stout, but it was the tasting that proved the real surprise. Here there were hops: the rich bitterness of grapefruit took prominence, overriding the lesser chocolate taste, before moving quickly to conclude with the coffee previewed in the aroma.
It’s a lovely beer and, carrying 7% ABV, very easy to drink, going down as if it were a couple per cent lower. As a fan of darker beers, Profanity Stout plays with expectations and comes out a winner. I went in expecting chocolate and/or coffee and it certainly delivered, but it was the citrus punch served up that highlighted its appropriate name. And while the beer may not have placed in the competition, I’m glad to have stocked up and to have a few more bottles in the offing. One or two may age a while, given the early 2013 best before date, but in the meantime there will hopefully be more amateur efforts from the Chapeau series to sample.
October 26, 2011