Big Beers of 2019?


2019 was an interesting one for me because I didn't drink a lot of high ABV beers. I tended to go for lower ABV styles, mostly Session IPAs if I'm honest. I had plenty of more normal beers like standard ABV stouts and lagers during the year.

I'm not sure why that is really but it might have something to do with weight loss. I lost about 30kg during the year, mostly achieved by cycling to/from work instead of driving when possible. Sure, I've cut down slightly on midweek drinking too, trying to restrict to weekends unless there's an event on. What I found in the beginning was that because I was also cutting out heavier, carb forward foods, I was feeling the effects of alcohol a lot quicker so I stuck to lower strength beer as a result.

For the last few months, I no longer cut out the carbs, just keep them in check so I don't really have that problem so I started to crack open a few higher ABV beers.

The one in the photo above is The Last Stand from Yellowbelly was part of my Beer Club subscription and not one I purchased directly. It's not commercially available so I won't mention it specifically other than to say, I enjoyed that can a lot and thankfully have 5 more to try during 2020. If you want to try it, ask someone you know in the Beer Club. If you don't know any, stalk some on Untappd....


First up is a beer I've had a few of, starting in August when I had it on tap a few times and then later in can after buying a few. The Big Smoke is 7.8% imperial stout has a thick chocolate and vanilla body with a subtle smokey, bourbon forward finish. It's perhaps not as smokey as the name might suggest so I'm guessing they are naming this beer after Dublin, the home of both Rascals and Dubliner Irish Whiskey. Dublin is of course referred to, the big smoke in Ireland. Works well with a Terry's chocolate orange by the way.


From Mourne Mountain comes Bear Grease, a 7% double oatmeal stout. This beer packed a lot of flavour with lashings of mocha (milky coffee/chocolate). The oatmeal added a real smooth and thick body. If you come across a can of this, just buy it. I'm only sorry I didn't grab more than one when I was up north.


The next two are similar from Brew York. The first one is Tonkoatko which is an 8.5% milk stout with coconut, tonka beans, vanilla and cocao. This is a huge beer which gets better as it warms. Up front was all that creamy mocha goodness which then started to become more like a coffee liqueur like Kahlua and then as it warmed, the coconut started to come out towards the finish.


The next one was a Cherry Tonkoko which was bigger again at 9.5% but it's a very different beer. While it's also a milk stout which contains coconut, tonka and vanilla, the cherry makes it like some kind of imperial black forest gateaux cake beer. It was lovely and the tartness (in no way sour) from the cherry balanced all that sweetness.


This Alphabet beer was a bit of a disappointment if I'm honest. Flat White is a 7.4% white breakfast stout. Remember, not all stouts are stout porters, some are pale. One point to note was the best before date was 23rd of December and I had this at the end of November so it was still in date but near the end of it. It shouldn't matter for a beer that big though. Firstly, if you love coffee, you might love this because it's serious about its coffee flavour. It does actually taste like an overly creamy coffee with a little orange marmalade but the issue was one of oxidation. An acrid, wet cardboard and astringent quality. Maybe it's too much coffee or maybe the canning procedure allows too much air which can be a problem with some smaller canning lines. Either way, it's not one for me but I did finish it.


The next two are seasonals from 8 degrees which they kindly sent to me as a Christmas gift along with some Badger and Dodo coffee. Funny story, I didn't know about the box for a week or so because it arrived in to work with a load of stuff my wife had ordered and I just assumed it was hers until she opened it and handed it to me.

Maroon Ball 7 is an 8.3% Kveik DIPA which I just found beautiful. A big juicy body with lashings of orange marmalade. It's perfectly balanced between the big chewy sweetness and a subtle bitterness, not too much, just enough to balance it out. Fantastic beer.


Black Ball 8 is the last in the 8 beer series. It's a massive 11.2% barrel aged imperial stout. OK, they call it a metric stout rather than imperial because, well, notions! 8 Degrees make great use of their parent company's Jameson barrels here and have produced one of the best barrel aged stouts I can recall in a can. Why's that? Probably because the whiskey notes are subtle and it doesn't just taste like a bourbon cocktail.

What's not making this list? Well, two of the best don't make it because quite simply, I didn't get to try them at home, only on draught and I don't usually take notes when I'm out, unless I'm on my own.

Wicklow Wolf's Pointy Shoes is one of my favourites of last year. I couldn't find any cans when they went on sale due to popularity and limited edition. I did however drink quite a few of them on tap at the new brewery during their official launch party.


Most recently, I had a 330ml measure of Larkin's Morrigan at The Black Sheep. Again, I didn't take any notes but this is right up there with Pointy Shoes as my favourite Imperial Stouts of 2019. The flavour is intense and while there's a whack load of bourbon, it's not overpowering and seems to work harmoniously here.

If I had to pick my top 3 from this list, work your way back from Morrigan. Hopefully I'll be a little more adventurous in 2020 but I do expect to be drinking plenty of Trouble Brewing's Graffiti or similar too.

COMMENTS

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1 week taste test,2,12 acres,2,1698,1,18c soup,1,2010,1,2011,1,2012 black ale,1,2019,1,21st amendment,1,3 floyds,2,3 kings,2,3 monts,1,30th anniversary,1,312 urban wheat,1,4 pines,1,400 pound monkey,1,4th of July,1,5 barrel,1,5 day ipa,1,500 posts,1,5am saint,1,60 minute IPA,1,77 lager,1,8 degrees,6,80/,1,9 white deer,1,90 minute IPA,1,90 shilling,1,a winters ale,1,abstrakt,1,Acorn Brewery,1,adnams,4,Aecht Schlenkerla,2,Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier weizen,1,against the grain,2,Agent Provocateur,1,alaska,1,alba scots pine,1,alcohol,1,aldi,1,ale,1,alice porter,1,all day ipa,1,all ireland craft beer festival,1,allagash,1,alltech,5,alpha dawg,1,Alpha Dog,1,alphabet,1,alpine glacier,1,Altfrankisches Klosterbier,1,amber-ella,1,Ambräusianum,1,American,1,american craft beer week,1,amsterdam,1,anarchist alchemy,1,anchor beer,3,anchor bock,1,anchorage,1,And now for something completely different,8,Anderson Valley,2,antwerp,1,Apple Wheat,1,arabier,1,Arcobräu,1,Arrogant 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brew,1,drunk,1,dubbel,1,Dubbel Jeopardy,3,dubbel whammy,2,dublin,2,Dublin Live Bloggers Crawl,1,Dukes of Burgundy,1,Dulle Teve,1,Dungarvan brewery,4,dw,1,e,1,early bird,1,east india pale ale,1,east river lager,1,easterfest,4,easterfest special,1,Eau Bénite,1,ebbc,1,ebbc12,6,ebbc13,9,ebbc14,2,ebbc15,2,ebbc16,1,edinburgh,2,eggenberg,1,eight degrees,2,ekstra,1,elgoods,1,emelisse,1,Emerald Pale Ale,1,english bitter,1,equity for punks,1,erlangen,1,esb,1,eskdale,1,eureka,1,Event,1,evil twin,1,excellent beer,38,exodus porter,1,exp431,1,Explorator,1,explorer,1,Fässla,1,fat tuesday,1,featured,1,festival,1,Finesse,1,firestone walker,1,FlavorActiV,1,florence,2,floris,2,flossmoore,1,flying dog,6,food,1,football pub,1,fort collins,2,founders,3,france,1,Franciscan Well,16,fraoch,1,Fraoch 20th anniversary ale,1,Fred And Ken's Bock,1,french beer,2,frog and rosbif,1,frog pubs,1,Frothingham Best,1,Fruh Kolsch,1,fuck art,1,fullers,15,Fullers Old Winter Ale,1,funkwerks,1,fyne ales,3,Galway,2,galway bay 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ryzen,1,heineken,1,Heinoweiser,1,hellfire club,1,helvick gold,1,Hemp Hop Rye,1,hercules,3,hero,1,herold,1,hibernicus,1,Hildegarde,1,hilden,4,hillstown,1,hipster,1,history,1,hitachino nest,2,hobgoblin,2,Hoegaarden Citron,1,Hofbräuhaus,1,hogsback,1,home bar,3,homebrew,72,hook norton,3,hooky bitter,1,hooky gold,1,hop adventure,5,hop garden gold,1,hop house 13,1,Hop Ottin',1,hop rocker,1,hopback,1,Hopfen Weisse,2,Hopfenweisse,1,hophead,2,Hoppety Hop,2,hopping hare,1,Hops,2,hops kill,1,hopsecutioner,1,hopsfume,1,hoptimum,1,Hoptimus Prime,1,Hopus,2,horal,1,hot press,1,Hotel Welcome,1,Hotteterre,2,How do they make us buy their beer?,1,howling gale,1,hsb,1,hullabloo,1,hurricane,1,hurricane jack,1,I hardcore you,1,IBU,1,icbcf,2,ice bucket challenge,1,iceland,1,idaho 7,1,ihp2012,2,ihp2014,1,ihp2015,1,iipa,1,Illawarra Brewing Company,1,imperial brown,1,imperial stout,2,imperious pilsner,1,in heat wheat,1,independence day,1,Indian summer,1,InishMacSaint,1,innis and gunn,3,innovation,1,instructions,1,integrity,1,International Craft Brewing Distilling Convention,1,International Homebrew Project,6,international stout day,2,ipa,4,ipa is dead,1,ireland,1,ireland craft beers,1,Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival,2,Irish Craft Beer Village,1,irish red ale,2,islay,1,islay ales,1,isle of arran,2,isle of wight,1,italian beer,2,italy,4,jack cody,4,jack daniel's,1,jack doyle's,1,jack whacker,1,jagged edge,1,jai alai,1,jaipur,1,james brown,1,james squire,1,japanese classic ale,1,jarl,1,jennings,1,jjj,1,joke,1,jopen,1,joseph holt,1,journalism,1,judging beer,1,Jule Ol,1,Just the Tipple,1,K-9 Cruiser,1,Kaiserdom,1,Kalamazoo,1,kasteel cru,1,Kauno,1,Keesman,1,kegerator,5,keller,1,kellerweis,1,kelly's,1,kelly's mountain brew,1,Kentucky common,1,kernel,1,kilcock,1,kill your darlings,1,king street brewhouse,1,kingpin,1,kings head,1,kinnegar,3,kinsale pale ale,1,kipling,1,kit v extract v all grain,1,kitzmann,1,Klosterbräu,1,Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe,1,kona,1,kriek,4,kristall,1,Krombacher Dark,1,Kronprinz,1,Kvasir,1,kwak,1,L Mulligan Grocer,1,L'Eldorado,1,La Beun'aise,1,La Bracine,1,La Case à Bières,1,La Croix des Grèves Brune,1,La Géante,1,la goudale,1,la rochelle,1,La Rulles,1,la trappe,1,la trappe tripel,1,Labeley,1,lacada,1,Lacavore,1,lacons,1,lagonda ipa,1,lagunitas,2,lagunitas brewery,1,lagunitas ipa,1,lake tahoe,1,lambic,2,lancaster bomber,1,lancaster brewery,1,Landbier,1,landlord,1,late red,1,lazy magnolia,2,Leann Folláin,2,Leffe Brune,1,Leffe Kerstbier,1,left hand brewing company,7,legacy,1,lervig,1,Les 3 Brasseurs,1,liberty ale,1,lidl,2,life and limb,1,lighthouse,1,Limerick,1,lindemans,1,lions,1,Lithuania,1,Little creatures,1,little valley,1,live beer blogging,2,lodden brewery,1,london gold,1,london pale ale,2,london porter,1,london stout,2,lonely planet,1,lough gill,1,LoverBeer,1,lovibonds,3,low ryeder ipa,1,lucifer,1,lunasa,1,Lymestone Cowboy,1,Mac Nutty,1,mac's,2,mad abbot,1,mad goose,1,mad squirrel,1,madcap brewery,1,magnolia pub,1,mahon falls,1,mahrs,1,maltshovel,1,Manchester bitter,1,manly,2,Manneken Pis,1,maple nut brown,1,marble,3,marble arch,1,marble brewery,1,marin brewing company,1,marooned,1,Masrtons Pedigree,1,Massey Red Ale,1,matilda,1,Maudite,1,max and moritz,1,Maximator,1,mcgargles,1,Mcgrath's,1,McGuires Irish Pub,1,mchughs,1,meantime,2,Meantime Raspberry Grand Cru,1,meh,1,Mein Grunes,1,mellow mushroom,1,merchandise,1,merry Chirstmas,1,Messrs Maguire,3,metalman,3,metalman bar,1,michigan,1,micro brewery,2,microbrewery,1,midnight sun,2,mikkeller,3,mild,3,mild smoker,2,mild winter,1,milk stout,2,mill valley beerworks,1,minikeg,2,minimum pricing,1,mission,1,moa,1,modus hoperandi,1,molly's chocolate stout,2,molsoncoors,1,mongozo,1,Monsieur Rock,1,moor,1,moore beer,1,mór,1,Mother Macs,1,mountain sun,1,mourne mountains,1,moylans,1,Mt Snowdon,1,mullingar,2,multigrain,1,Munster,1,muntons,1,murray's,3,musings,1,myrcenary,1,n17,1,naked pig,1,Nanny State,1,natural selection,1,Navigator,1,nectar,1,Nefiltruotas Raw,1,NEIPA,1,Nen Bangelijke,1,Netherlands,1,never mind the anabolics,2,new belgium,2,new holland,1,new zealand,2,Newmans,1,newton,1,night beacon,1,night of many beers,1,Noblesse,1,Nøgne Ø,1,Nøgne Ø nogne o,1,northern monk,2,Northmaen,2,nutfest,1,O' Hara's,1,O' Neil's,1,o'byrnes,1,O'Fallon,1,o'hara's,1,O'Hara's IPA,1,O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale,1,O'Haras,6,oak aged,1,oberdorfer. hopf,1,oberon,2,obyrnes,1,odd side ales,1,odell,3,Odells,3,Oerbier Special Reserva,1,of foam and fury,1,Oktoberfest,1,ola dubh,1,old foghorn,1,old nucklehead,1,Old Peculier,1,old scratch,1,old speckled hen,2,old tom strong ale,1,Old Winter Ale,1,olde peninsula,1,opinion,2,Oppigards,1,Optimo Bruno,1,opus II,2,ór,2,origin,1,Orney Amber,1,orval,1,oscar blues,1,oskar blues,1,otley,1,oxymoron,1,Oyster stout,2,p2,2,pacific blond,1,paddy's brewery,1,paddyfest,1,paella,1,Page 24,1,Pagoa,1,Palo Santo Marron,1,pancake Tuesday,1,panhead,1,Pannepot reserva,1,paradox,1,paris,3,past master,1,past masters,1,pbr,1,peak xv,1,pensacola,1,perception,1,Perle La Mondiale 2011,1,petaluma,1,Philippines,1,phoenix park,1,phones,1,phuca,1,pick axe,1,piece,1,pier cove porter,1,pilsner,1,pilsner urquell,6,pink killer,1,pints pub,1,pipers gold,1,pisa,1,pliny the elder,2,poachers choice,1,pochs,1,Poechenellekelder,1,poland,2,politics,4,pond hopper,1,port brewing,1,Port McQuarie,1,porter,1,porterhouse,14,portrush,1,Pot Belly,1,prague,1,preview,1,primator dark,1,prize old ale,1,Proclamation Porter,1,proper job,1,prost,1,pubs,1,pure brew,1,pure gold,1,pure ubu,1,purgatory,1,purity,1,purity brewing company,1,push and pull,1,quaff,1,queboid,1,racer 5,1,rader,1,radical brew,1,radikale,1,Raftman,1,Raison D'être,1,rakau,1,random everything ipa,1,random summer sunshine,1,random waffle,1,rant,4,rascal's,1,rascals,2,ratebeer,1,Rauchbier,1,raven,1,Raven Vintage Stout,1,razzamataz,1,rch brewery,1,re-brew,1,reality bytes,1,rebrew,1,recession dinner,1,recipe,1,recycle,1,red ale,1,red eye flight,1,red frog ale,1,red horse,1,red shield,1,redoak,1,revelation cat,1,revolution,1,Reykjavik,1,rhetoric,1,ridgeway,1,Rince Cochon,1,rip tide,1,riptide,1,rising sons,1,road dog,1,roadtrip,1,rochefort,1,Rochefort 10,2,Rodenbach,1,rogue beer,1,róisin,1,rome,1,rooie dop,1,rook and vuur,1,root canal,1,Rosé de Gambrinus,1,rosey nosey,1,round-up,2,roundup,2,ruddles,1,rugby,5,Russian imperial,1,russian river,1,rye river,4,saint bidgets porter,1,saint paul,1,Saint Petersburg,1,saison,2,saison 1900,1,Salthill,1,sam adams,1,Samichlaus,1,samual adams,2,samuel adams,1,samurai rice ale,1,san diego,1,san francisco,2,san sebastian,1,sanda black,1,Santa’s Little Helper,1,sappy,1,saranac,2,sassy red,1,satanic mills,1,saugatuck,2,sawtooth ale,1,scaldy porter,1,Schlapppeseppel,1,Schlenkerla,1,Schneider Weisse,3,Schneider Weisse Tap 4,1,scotland,1,second chance,1,Seeing red,4,Seeing red v2,2,seo,1,septemberfest,1,shady pale,1,shandon century stout,2,sharp's,3,sharps,1,shave or dye,1,sheepshagger,1,shephard neame,2,shepherd neame,2,sheridans,2,shipyard,1,shpherd neame,1,Sierra Nevada,10,Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale,2,Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale,2,signal,1,Sigtina,1,singapore ipa. esb amber,1,Single Brew Reserve,1,sink the bismark,1,sixex,1,ska brewing,1,skyrim,1,slaters,1,sligo,1,sloop brewing,1,smithwicks,3,smoke jumper,1,smoked baltic porter,1,smoked porter,1,smooth ryed,1,smuggler,1,snake dog,1,sneck lifter,1,snow eater,1,Sorachi ace,1,Sorachi Ale,1,Sotholmon,1,sour beer,1,South Pacific Pale Ale,1,southern pecan,1,southern tier,2,Southwold Dark Ale,1,spain,2,spaten,1,speakeasy brewery,1,speakeasy payback porter,1,Special London ale,1,spelt saison,1,spezial,1,spindrift,1,Spitting Llama,1,Squealing Pig,1,St Bernardus,1,st bernardus 12,1,st eriks,1,St Idesbald,1,St Lupulin,1,st martin,1,St Peter's Cream Stout,1,st stefanus,1,stag saor,1,starr hill,1,stateline,1,Steen Brugge,1,Steep Trail,1,stella artois,1,steve wellington,1,stevens point,2,stewart brewing,1,stinger,1,stone,1,Stone and wood,1,stone barrel,1,stone brewing company,2,stone ruination ipa,1,stonewell,1,stoneybatter,1,story,1,stout,4,stout face off,1,straffe hendrick,1,Streaky,1,stumptown tart,1,sublimely self righteous ale,1,Sullivan's,3,summer,1,Summer IPA,1,summer lightning,1,summerwine,1,sunburnt Irish red,1,suntory,1,supervalu,1,sur amarillo,1,surrender to the void,1,survey,1,sushi,2,sweden,1,Swedish beer,1,sweetwater,1,sweetwater brewery,1,sydney,6,Syvturys,1,t-shirts,1,T' Pakhuis,1,tactical nuclear penguin,1,tally-ho,1,tangle foot,1,Tankovna,1,Tap X,1,tapster,1,taste test,2,tasting,1,tasting session,1,tawny 05,1,tayberry,1,tea,1,teeling,1,tempest,1,temple bar chocolate festival,1,tennesse cider,1,terrible beer,3,tesco,1,thanks to the big boys,2,the banshee,1,the beast,1,the beer moment,1,The Berg,1,The Big Lunch Beer Challenge,1,the black sheep,1,The Brewrey Tap,1,the bruery,1,the end of history,1,the fearless,1,the force,1,the format,1,The Golden Pints Beer Awards 2010,1,The Great divide,3,the haka,1,The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,1,the Irish giant,1,The Late Night Levy,1,The little Brewing Company,1,the lord nelson,1,The Matt Brewing Company,1,the old stand,1,the oslo,4,the perfect publican,1,The pubs that made us,9,the rev james,1,The Rogue Hop,1,the salthouse,1,the session,42,the white hag,2,theakston,1,Thieving Bastards,1,things done changed,1,thirsty bear,1,Thornbridge,6,three notched,1,thwaites,3,Thwaites double century,1,Tig Bhric,1,Tig Neachtain,1,timothy taylor,1,tis the saison,1,titan ipa,1,To Øl,3,toast,1,tojo,1,tokyo*,1,tommyknocker,2,Tongerlo,1,toronado,1,torpedo,1,tralee,1,trappist beer,2,Traquair ale,1,Traquair House,1,trashy blonde,1,travel,31,travel notes,1,Treaty City,1,trespass,1,Tripple FFF,1,Trois Pistoles,1,Trouble Brewing,4,truck stop honey,1,tsar,1,tuatara,1,tully's,1,Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades III,1,twiglets,1,twitter,2,two hearted ale,1,Unertl,1,Unibroue,1,untappd,1,Urban Brewing,1,urbock,1,valentins,1,vandeoirsprong,1,Vapeur Cochonne,1,ventnor,1,versa,1,vertical tasting,1,very nutty black,1,vg noster,1,victory,1,Victory Golden Monkey,1,victory hop devil,1,victory hop wallop,1,victory storm king,1,video post,3,viginia,1,vin biersel,1,vintage ale,1,Vitesse Noir,1,Vivid Illusions,1,vlog,2,volksfest,1,vrienden,1,Waiheke Island,1,wainwright,1,walled city,1,warrior ipa,1,water shortage,1,waterford,2,website,1,Weihenstephan,1,Weihenstephaner,1,Weißenoher,1,Weisser Bock,1,Wellington,1,wells and youngs,1,Wells Banana bread beer,1,West Cork,1,western herd,1,westvleteren 12,2,wetherspoons,1,What Ales Ye?,1,what beer means to me,1,what's the matter lagerboy?,1,wheat beer,4,wheat wacker,1,wheat wine,1,Wheaty Goodness,2,whiplash,2,white gypsy,1,white gypsy vintage,1,White Island Wheaten Ale,1,White rabbit,1,white shield,1,whitewater,1,whychwood,1,wicked elf,1,Wickham Tap,1,wicklow brewery,1,wicklow wolf,3,widmer,1,wildcat,1,williams brothers brewery,8,windsor and eton,1,wine,1,winter ale,1,Winter Ales and Cask festival,3,winter lager,1,winter solstice,1,winter specials,1,winter spirit,1,winter warmers,1,Wit,1,witty fella,2,wj kavanagh.,1,wobbly boot,1,woolpack,4,woolpacker,1,wordpress,1,world beer awards,1,world market,1,worlds best beers,1,wort,1,worthingtons,2,wrasslers,1,wrocklaw,2,wynkoop,1,xx bitter,1,xx strong ale,1,yamamori,1,yardsman,2,yellowbelly,2,yeti,1,york,1,young's,2,your local,1,youtube,3,yule ól,1,zero degrees,1,zeus,1,Zlatý Bažant,1,Zunbeltz,1,
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The Tale Of The Ale: Big Beers of 2019?
Big Beers of 2019?
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The Tale Of The Ale
https://www.taleofale.com/2020/01/big-beers-of-2019.html
https://www.taleofale.com/
https://www.taleofale.com/
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