Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout (Bourbon And Sherry Barrel Aged)(750ml)
Brewed by: Kiuchi Brewery (Hitachino) (Konosu, Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan)
ABV: 7.0% / IBU: 40
750ml bottle brewed in Japan at 7%. Crimson-tinged pseudo-black brown with an ephemeral cola-style head. Complex dark aroma, cola cubes, a little sour grape, dry carob-esque tannins and some earthy coffee bean nuance with shades of dark wood. Yes, like Hitachino's other barrel-aged offerings, this is (lightly, naturally) sour - no bad thing, especially since sour stouts are a bit of a rarity. Very low carbonation, robust texture.
Mellow, rich earthy coffee bean tones linger throughout into the aftertaste. Some red grape skin and a little woody vanilla. Tannins merge with a little vinegary sourness. This really works - but it's really off-piste. Don't go into this expecting a generic barrel-aged stout - or even a proper 'sour' stout - this is Hitachino doing their own thing.
Love the sherry and coffee earth and tannin interplay; the bourbon barrels are mostly there to balance it - and with the wild goings-on, this is a very balanced beer, lovely sweet and tart and dry concoction. Reminds me faintly of soy sauce at times. Complex and tasty, but you'd be forgiven for thinking this one was a mistake.
Review credits: LagerGuide122 (Ratebeer)