My first proper post of the year on a whisky blog and I’m starting with… a beer?
That’s right. But no ordinary beer. A collaboration between two of London’s most exciting alco-wizards: the Brew By Numbers (or BBNo) brewery and the Bimber distillery.
Brew By Numbers are a micro brewery based out of Bermondsey, London and have been stalwarts of the craft beer scene for some time. Their beers all come with a satisfying number denomination which refers to the style of beer produced, e.g. 05 is India Pale, 08 is Stout, 11 is Session IPA, 30 is Pilsner, and more importantly for this post: 64 is Imperial Stout. Though the numbers may stay the same for the style, the brewery does not stick with the same recipes and experiments with numerous hops, finishes, and collaborations.
Bimber is based in Acton, London and is a relative newcomer to the whisky game, but brings a lot of experience with it. The family affair adopts a grain to glass approach to their whisky production with barley produced on their own farm, the spirit distilled onsite, barrels made in their own cooperage, and final bottling also performed onsite. They launched their first single malt in September 2019 and have been making a real name for themselves with the multiple products they’ve put out in that short time.
At the helm of this collaboration, the team at BBNo have brewed their thick imperial stout recipe and have added cacoa nibs, coffee, and vanilla into the mix. Rather than your traditional cask-ageing process of housing the beer in old whisky barrels, this mixture gets its whisky influence by having also added in oak chips into the brew which have been soaked in Bimber’s own ex-bourbon cask matured single malt whisky. The final product is packaged in BBNo’s stylish stripped-back numbered cans at an even 10.0% ABV.
Getting those cacoa nibs upfront and a good roasty toasty stout flavour.
Roasted malt flavours rocket across your tongue. There’s sweetness and unctuousness in that soft silky texture delivering loads of flavours: cocoa, vanilla, dark chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, barley sugars, Baileys, Mars bars, baby Guinness shots…
A deliciously soft body and silky finish with a lasting dark chocolate taste and whisky cask spice – yes it’s a strong beer but it doesn’t taste like 10% at all.
Delicious. Truly delicious. As a fan of BBNo’s beers in general, but especially their dark beers (numbers 08, 10, and 64), this was a real treat for a drinker whose drink of choice is actually a short. You can’t/shouldn’t really rush a 10% beer, but the number of flavours that kept coming out made me take my time anyway. Each mouthful revealed something else and was a real treat from start to finish. I have held onto this can for a while, waiting for the right time to enjoy it, and it was definitely worth the wait. I also know that they have since released a traditional barrel-aged version of the Imperial Stout which has sat in Bimber’s casks for 4 months and I’ll have to seek some out ASAP…
You see… I’ve just finished this and am already itching for more of the same. If that’s not telling, then I don’t know what is.
Disclosure: This can was a gift. Not from the brewery or the distillery, but from my merry band of team mates at work. Part of a fantastic collection of beers, curated by someone who clearly knows their beers! Thanks again!