An offshoot of an idea by CB Saint in my blog thread; I may not manage to post every week, but will update it every week that I can.
Lervig - Big Ass Money Stout (Norway), 17.5% ABV
I actually had this beer just before Christmas, but it sneaks in by virtue of being available at this week's Craft Beer 100 festival at Craft Beer Co in Clapham.
I've had some pretty mental beers in my time but this imperial stout stole the crown. Then promptly shat all over the crown. Brewed as a collaboration between Norway's Lervig and Evil Twin from the US, the aim was to create a beer that encapsulated the things Norway's famous for. Therefore a syrupy, inky stout - in this instance representing oil.
Until reading up on 'Big Ass Money Stout', I had no idea that Norwegians were so crazy for frozen pizza - one brand, Grandiosa, sells 80 million a year. To a country with a population of only 5 million! So one of those was thrown into the boil, obviously. Norway's also the richest country in the world, so Big Ass Money Stout literally had money added, post-fermentation (the same as dry-hopping, so er... dry-moneying?)
Plainly crazy then, but the brewers knew that and the gimmicks are layered upon a stunning beer. It's very smooth, with almost zero carbonation, and has a high viscosity (for a beer). The taste certainly has an 'edge' i.e. it's a little rough and ready. Somehow the high alcohol content is completely masked by the ridiculous depth of flavour; there's lots of chocolate and a distinctly roasted character. It poured with a plum-coloured head, which I haven't seen in 1200+ other beers.
Quite simply it has no right to taste this good.
Score: 4.75 (out of 5)
Out of stock online, but available at Craft Beer 100, 24th-28th March.