I've made it to the finish line and to celebrate the ringing in of the new year I have the one beer I have been looking forward to the most. I found this one on my first visit to Trafalgar Wines in Brighton last month, a shop with a very impressive selection of bottled beers from all over the UK. I was suitably impressed by my first beer from Brew By Numbers earlier this year so this expensive large bottle grabbed my attention and emptied my wallet.
Brew By Numbers are located in SE London and began brewing beer for sale at the end of 2012. The numbers on each beer refer to the style of beer (the first part) and the recipe within that style (the second part). So for my 12th beer of the 12 Beers of Xmas I am trying beer style 12. I love it when numbers line up. They now have a 12bbl (there's that number again) plant up and running and the original kit (one tenth the size) is now their pilot kit. As with many other new London brewers they open their doors every Saturday when visitors can try their latest creations. Mental note to self for 2015. Go to London one Saturday and go on a brewery crawl.
This beer is a barrel aged traditional porter clocking in at an impressive 8.5% ABV. The bottle size is 750ml so this is one I will be able to get my teeth into. Firstly, let me say that beer style 12 is not a porter, it is a barrel aged beer. There is a number for porter and that is '03'. Confused already you see!! My wife said it is strong and smoky and very nice. The aroma is very smoky with this one. I can't wait to taste it. It has everything I expect from a strong porter. Plenty of liquorice and dark fruits. Dark chocolate in abundance and a perfectly balanced bittersweet finish. Rich and moreish and for the strength it is so easy to drink. As soon as I tasted this I knew it was a perfect finish to my Xmas beers. Except for one disaster and one or two average beers the quality of beers has been first class and at least half of them have got my top score it seems and this one is no exception.