Tiny Rebel are at it again with their Double 99 Imperial Stout Chocolate Flake beer. As anyone who has read my reviews will know I'm a big Tiny Rebel fan, and in particular a big fan of their Stay puft Marshmallow Porter which is now very much the benchmark for their beers in my head, and it's one hell of a benchmark. For those of you that don't know Tiny Rebel are a Welsh Brewery who keep trying fun new things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but they do keep trying to be inventive and all credit to them for that. I had the Double 99 in one of my favourite bars the Strait and Narrow in Lincoln, it comes in a pretty 440 can for the princely sum of £7.99 making it one of the most expensive beers I've ever had.
For the princely sum the Double 99 Imperial Stout comes with quite a punch, as all imperial stouts should. It's a whopping 9.9% so in terms of cost per unit it's not bad although I still balk at anything over £5 especially when it's not even on tap. The beer pours as black as they come with a nice little head. The smell is what you'd expect with lots of chocolate and vanilla tones, this is very much designed to be an ice cream flake in a glass, well 90% ice cream flake 10% alcohol, but you get the idea. It's potent, and the smell emphasises the potency, there's no doubting even before you taste Double 99 it's going to give you a headache in the morning if you have too many.
The taste pretty much matches the smell, you know it's full of alcohol and chocolate, with maybe a bit of coffee thrown in for good measure. As with most imperial stouts it's rich and creamy but smooth in a good way. Despite it's obvious potency it's pretty easy to drink, which is dangerous in its own way. It feels like a proper Tiny Rebel beer, it's pushing the boundaries and having a lot of fun doing it. What this means is that it's substantially stronger than Stay Puft, but for me it's not got the same glorious taste.
The Double 99 is a very good drink, but it's also unnecessary. Let me explain... Tiny Rebel already does a Stay Puft Chocolate Imperial Porter at 9%, sure the Double 99 has the extra stouty flavour some may prefer to a porter, but it just isn't as good as the Stay Puft version. Had Tiny Rebel gone hey Stay Puft was great but we're moving on and created this it'd have been really worthwhile, but it just feels like a less good slightly more potent version of their real masterpiece. Regardless of all this Tiny Rebel Double 99 Chocolate Flake Imperial Stout is a solid 8/10 beer. If you see it drink it, unless it's next to Stay Puft in which case go for the classic and best.
I found a 440ml can of 4t's Brewery Chocolate and Fudge Stout Detectives in the Strait and Narrow which is one of my favourite pubs in Lincoln. It was £5.99 so far from cheap, but it sounded amazing, I mean really stout good, chocolate good, fudge good, detectives, well good I guess. So what could possibly go wrong? 4T's have been brewing beers in Warrington for a good 10 years now, so it's slightly surprising that this was my first. The art work on all their cans is excellent, and the chocolate and fudge stout detectives is no exception with bars of chocolate and fudge dressed as detectives. Again what could go wrong?
At 5% proof this should have been a pretty nice standard easy to drink stout, and I hoped a good dessert beer. The colour is about as black as black gets and it pours with a nice head, so again I have to ask what could go wrong? Well for a start the smell is horrendous, I can't even really describe it beyond saying it was powerful. I guess there was some burnt chocolate in there, but really it just smelt like something had died, and whatever the thing that died was, it wasn't pleasant prior to death.
Regardless of the smell I love chocolate stouts so I wasn't going to be put off that easily, unfortunately the smell foretold the taste. I want to tell you that it gets better, and in fairness it does. While the initial taste is very much like the smell eventually you do get a vague sense that there is a chocolate centre somewhere in the glass, it's not much, but it's a relief that it's there. I'm usually not a man of few words, but I just don't want to talk about this beer anymore. I did manage to finish it, but that was more down to the price I'd paid than the desire to get it down me. I'm going to give 4t's Chocolate and Fudge Stout Detectives a very generous score of 1/10 and the 1 is pretty much just for the artwork on the can so kudos to the designer.
I found this 440 can of Neipa by Stewart Brewing featuring in the LIDL beer festival and at less than £2 a can I'd have been mad not to give it a go. The brewery is based in Edinburgh and has a fairly impressive selection given that it's fairly new to the brewing game at less than 20 years old. The Neipa can is fairly pretty and just in case anyone doesn't know Neipa stands for New England IPA so you know what you're getting straight away. With a 5.3% alcohol content this is strong enough to have an effect, but not so strong you can only have a couple. So without further ado lets get on with the NEIPA beer review.
Neipa pours a cloudy almost peach colour which makes it appear like a much thicker beer than it is, which is a shame because the colour kind of got my hopes up. You'll get a thin white head which vanishes pretty quickly and a peachy, slightly grapefruit like aroma which pretty much matches the appearance. Prior to tasting everything made me believe this was going to be a full bodied fruity IPA with a bit of a kick, what it delivers on the other hand is much more subtle and smooth.
There's still a peachy taste, almost like a weak peach cordial, but there's not even a twang of grapefruit and no real hops or bitter taste of note. It's a beer that slides easily down the throat and somewhat masks it's 5.3% behind the subtle peach flavours. You could be forgiven if you ordered this at a bar and thought it had been somewhat watered down. All the taste the looks and scent promise just seem toned down which makes it difficult to judge as a beer.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with Neipa, it tastes fine, but in many ways that just means it tastes bland and if you took away the alcohol content you could honestly sell it as a decent peach cordial. I'm not going to be too critical because I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't go looking for it. So as is traditional in any beer review I best give Neipa from Stewart Brewing a score. I'll go 6/10 you wont be disappointed, you wont be elated, if you really like peach you might give it 7/10 but for me I'm just not really fussed and want a bit more taste in my tipple.