Fuller’s London Porter 5.4%

5 12 2010

Fairly recently I wrote a review on Fuller’s London Pride (here) today I turn my attention to another beer from the London based brewery; Fuller’s London Porter.

I’m not going to prattle on at length about the history and origins of porter – trust me I can if you want ūüėČ but it is great to see a London brewery still leads the way in producing what I and many others deem to be the gold standard of porters.

Ok so where to begin, well it pours very dark brown, not black close enough, there is a slight ruby sheen to a pint if held up directly to the light. The head is egg-shell white and settles out at around 2 fingers, the head fades away a fair bit but leaves a load of lacing on the glass.

In terms of aroma you can quite clearly make out roasted malt, some bitter coffee notes and a hint of toffee or caramel, there is also a slight nuttiness and a hint of hops.

Taste is where Fuller’s have really won through on this one; everything you can pick up in the aroma of the porter is present and more.¬† The deep roasted malts come to the fore along with the coffee note and that toffee/caramel sweetness.

The chocolate from the roasted malt comes through in the after taste but in a subtle way, it is very much a supporting character in this porter as is the slightly nutty taste. There is a hint of fruitiness that you just about pick up in the background as well, if I had to try and pin it down I would go with raisins or sultanas with a tiny hit of vanilla creeping in as well.

All in all you come away with a rich complex taste that for me ticks all the right boxes, it is rich and malty, slightly sweet and fruity with an underlying bitterness that is refreshing and cuts through the richness which otherwise might be a tad cloying.

In terms of mouthfeel there is only really one word to describe this porter: smooth. In face we are going beyond smooth we are talking baby’s bottoms or the finest velvet gliding across your tongue¬† – ok well maybe not baby’s bottoms but you get the picture.

A lot of people far more worthy than I have waxed lyrical about Fuller’s London Porter and have even gone so far as to vote it the World’s best porter on several occasions. I don’t often like to follow crowds or ride along with popular opinion but on this occasion I can’t really disagree with any degree of conviction.

There might be better porters out there but if there are I certainly haven’t found them.

5/5

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Maldon Oyster Stout

5 05 2010

In this second part of my Farmer’s Ales double header I am going to take a look at their Maldon Oyster Stout.

This is one of Farmer’s Ales “Occasional Beers”; on their website they state that these are what many breweries would refer to as their “seasonal ales” however as they are never quite sure when they will brew them they thought that occasional was a better title to bestow.

The particular occasion that this stout is brewed for is of course the Maldon oyster festival which takes place each September, whilst I didn’t visit the festival I was lucky enough to sample a bottle of the oyster stout at the Hyde Hall RHS gardens.

I must admit to being very pleasantly surprised with this particular beer; you can still find many “oyster stouts” on offer however an awful lot of them no longer contain any oysters at all.

Luckily this isn’t the case here, if you look down the list of ingredients for this beer you will find Maldon oysters from the River Blackwater nestling amongst the malt and hops. The addition of the oysters adds a savoury depth of flavour and just the smallest hint of saltiness which works perfectly well.

When poured the stout has a lovely deep dark brown colour to it and has a smallish beige coloured head that lasts for the duration of the beer.

It is a wonderfully smooth stout with a real hit of flavour, there are deep chocolate and coffee tones that work brillantly alongside the slightly savoury salty note from the oysters. There is a lovely long finish to stout with the coffee note really coming through towards the end.

I will be honest I am sometimes a little underwhelmed with some stouts, they often tend to be  too heavy with no real delicacy of flavour to them or if not you come across some slightly odd flavours that that occasionally you really wish you had never tasted.

Maldon Oyster Stout is one of the exceptions to this rule, it is light enough to drink a session beer and packs a real whallop in the flavour department.

If you find yourself in Essex and looking for a pint give it a go you wont be dissapointed.

4.8/5








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