It was only a few weeks ago that I brewed the Session Stout but it’s ready to taste so let’s take a look at how it’s turned out.
The brew day itself went by without any hitches and fermentation was unremarkable. The temperature here in Cornwall is starting to cool now the seasons are changing. It’s Autumn now so the ambient temperature in my house is a steady 18C for most of the day and night.
I’m sympathetic to a lot of home brewers that live in warmer climates. Requiring far more resources to control their fermentation temperatures.
Living in the UK the temperatures year round are always somewhere in the region of ideal for brewing. If it means changing the beer style to suit the current temperatures it’s just a matter of planning. Keeping those temperature steady, without to much fluctuation between day and night is important.
It is the falling temperature that first inspired me to brew this darker Session Stout. Wanting something both comforting and rich but restraining the alcohol content. Trying to balance both of these objectives seemed to work on paper, so how did it translate into a beer?
The beer drinks like there is a higher alcohol content. It’s rich enough and fills the mouth like a stronger thicker Stout would. There is room for improvement, just as there is in most beers and a few tweaks could lift it to a higher level.
The roasted character competes with the sweetness a little to much. Perhaps a touch more lactose would even this out. It may be personal preference of course, you don’t want the beer to get too sweet.
Look: In my opinion dark beers always look good. Clarity is never a concern in a dark enough beer. Take a look at the picture the head of this beer reaches a few centimeters out of the glass. This is in part due to glass, the etched bottom generates a steady stream of bubbles. The colour is midnight black and the head a light, pale tan.
Smell: Roasted malt is predominant. The lactose sweetness mingles with the roasted notes to give the impression of chocolate. If you want to delve deeper you might say a note of charred biscuits.
Taste: Roasted malts first then the sweetness gives the impression of chocolate and coffee. Just like the aroma the two compete against each other. It would be nice to say this adds complexity but I would prefer them to blend together. The taste lingers for a good while on the palate and the hops are only just present in the background.
The taste is that of a beer with a higher ABV. The flavour is big enough when bolstered by the sweetness to be warming.
Feel: I’m happy with the mouthfeel. The carbonation is quite low so the pillowy head is a great outcome. The slight sweetness fills the mouth and it is rich enough to please.
Overall: This is a good solid beer and one that packs a lot of flavour for the small ABV. The body is spot on in my opinion and the flavour good but could be elevated a touch more. Switching around some of the darker malts and tweaking the lactose to balance the two. That would take the beer to another level.