At last, it is time for me to dissect this beer, a wax-topped, hyped-up, black-as-Deaths-cloak imperial stout from Galway Bay Brewery, aged in Teelings Whiskey barrels no less.
The beer is of course Two Hundred Fathoms, and it is of course inky black with a gorgeous dark brown head. At 10% and with a whiskey barrel in its genealogical background, there's no keeping this one in the glass; bold and pungent the aroma reaches you fast, all deep dark chocolate, roasty and sweet coffee, a touch of booze and even a slightly savoury, saline thing going on. Appetising and appropriate to style. There's a touch of burnt chocolate and a suggestion of vanilla is the sole signifier of a whiskey cask pedigree.
The palate gets much the same treatment, with deep and full chocolate mousse and rich dark fruit opening for a really roasty middle section and a bittersweet dark chocolate finish. As suggested in the nose, there's a bit of savoury maltiness tucked into the folds, with the whole thing helped along by velvety smooth carbonation.
Overall, it's an indulgent, decadent, yet deftly put together imperial stout, showing more subtlety than I was expecting. There's nary a smidge of booze on the palate, and while there doesn't seem to be any overbearing whiskey barrel influence, this can only be a good thing; many a good beer can be totally hijacked this way. At €8.50 a bottle, you'll be surprised to learn this actually represents a good value for money beer purchase, though with so much beer to get around to, it's unlikely I'll be buying more of this particular batch anytime soon.
Try it, Bradley's still have some left.