8 Degrees have a new Back to Black series out since the end of 2013 and I finally got a chance to sample these beauties recently. 8 Degrees sent me a lovely Christmas present of two of each beer and I had been holding off since I was suffering with a cold for the whole month of December. The Russian Imperial Stout is a 9% ABV monster of a beer, there's little aroma beyond an intense and rich dark chocolate. It tastes great with an initial rich chocolate making way for some fairly intense bitterness before moving towards the dark fruit end of the spectrum and finally a long and lingering alcohol warmth. It's a lovely beer and one to sip on a cold evening.
I'll admit to not reading the label of Aztec stout before I drank the beer so I was somewhat shocked to find a pleasant but obvious chilli burn. This made me check the label where I discovered that it contains not just chillies (chipotle) but cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and even a touch of cinnamon. The base beer is a 5.5% oatmeal stout. The end result is a very smooth and creamy (oatmeal) stout with a distinct chilli burn, a smokey character (chipotle chillies) and a little coffee and vanilla for good measure. The cinnamon was lost I'm afraid which is a shame as I really love cinnamon. Great beer
And now for my favourite of the bunch, Zeus Black IPA. It's a 7% BIPA with an aroma of tropical fruits, chocolate along with citrus and pine notes. It's a very pleasant aroma. It tastes even better with strong chocolate at first and then massive pine and citrus hit followed by tropical fruits. Zeus boasts a medium/full body and lingering bitterness / fruit on the finish. It's an epic beer and one I intend to drink a lot more of.