Blacklight Banana Imperial Stout – ABV 9.2%

This collaboration between Siren and Garage Project is a seriously-smooth drinking imperial stout with aromas of banana and chocolate.

Look: Dark black with a tan head.

Aroma: Banana and chocolate with rich dark molasses.

Taste: A creamy mouthfeel and flavours of malt, banana and treacle combine to give a slightly burnt bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

Food pairing: A great beer for drinking with desserts. Try pairing it with the burnt, creaminess of a creme caramel.

Verdict: Blacklight Banana was brewed as part of the 2016 Rainbow Project. We just wish Siren had brewed more of it.

Mexicake Imperial Stout – ABV 11%

When it came time to brewing something big and dark, Tempest had just one thing on their mind: cake.

A beer that tasted like a delicious, delectable chocolate cake… how about a Mexican chocolate cake?

Imagine taking a rich, boozy imperial stout, and then infusing it with fresh vanilla beans, high-quality cocoa, Ceylon cinnamon, Chipotle chillies, and Mulato chillies.

Blend it all together, and what you get is a complex and delicious beer with a rich, full mouthfeel, a touch of sweetness the vanilla, ground spice aroma the cinnamon, a touch of fruitiness the Mulato, and a little heat and smoke in the finish the Chipotle.

Figgy Bastard Imperial Stout – ABV 10%

Beer made with figs aged in red wine barrels for an Amaretto tingle. You’ve got better willpower than us if you can wait until Christmas to drink this.

Look: Figgy Bastard pours jet black with a tan head.

Aroma: Dried fruit, chocolate and amaretto.

Taste: Sweetness of figs and dates, with a lovely contrasting sourness that prevents it becoming too cloying. Lovely stuff.

Food pairing: If you can keep your hands off it until Christmas Day it will go down a storm with your mince pies and Xmas pudding.

Double Shuck Oyster Stout – ABV 11%

Only slight saltiness two hundred fresh Lindisfarne oysters is backed up by amazing depth of flavour including paprika, Tabasco, roasted malt and molasses.

Look: The beer pours jet black in the glass with a small beige head.

Aroma: Rich roasted malt, cocoa and molasses and a breeze of fresh air.

Taste: You get a thick smooth mouthfeel with soft carbonation, huge depth of flavour the roasted malt, some chocolate and then at the end a slight saltiness the oysters (but that’s as far as the fishiness goes).

Food Pairing: The beer is made with Oysters, and is made to be drunk with Oysters. Just make sure you do all your shucking before you start on the drinking.

Verdict: Prepare yourself for a shucking treat; it drinks so smoothly you’ll need to keep reminding yourself of the alcohol content. More genius brewing the team at Tempest.

Something Something Dark Side Double India Stout – ABV 9.2%

A bang-on Double India Stout with Gem, Citra, Simcoe hops for DIPA-style citrus aromas, plus chocolate, caramel and liquorice the molasses sugar.

Look: The beer pours pitch black in the glass with a tan head.

Aroma: As soon as you smell it you know why they called it a Double India Stout.
Pacific Gem, Citra, Simcoe and Columbus hops combine to give the intense pine and citrus aromas of a double IPA.

Taste: All the above floral hints plus roasted malts, chocolate, liquorice and the sweetness of caramel the addition of molasses and honey.

Verdict: The complexity of all those flavours makes this a top-notch Double India Stout. This is a Dark Side we want to join forces with.

Caramel Fudge Stout – ABV 11.5%

Boozy and oozing with rich caramel, this complex and sumptuous dessert beer with Summit and Cascade hops has had rave reviews, and it’s just gained another.

Look: It pours an inky-black in the glass with a small mid-brown head

Aroma: Enrapturing sweet caramel.

Taste: Thick, complex rich and boozy and overflowing with fudge and caramel richness

Food Pairing: We think these flavours are best enjoyed all by themselves, but if you feel the need and you have a sweet tooth that knows no bounds then a slice of chocolate cake will work well.

Verdict: If there’s a more perfect dessert beer then we haven’t tasted it. It’s even better than Yellow Belly and Noa.

Seafaring Imperial Stout – ABV 8%

Amazing levels of fruitiness and carbonation an Imperial Stout – even notes of zesty orange can be found floating on the dark chocolate and malt base.

Look: The beer pours with a good sized light brown head and plenty of carbonation with a slowly receding head.

Aroma:  Plenty of chocolate and forest fruits, and an addition of oranges and sticky dates on the palate.

Taste: There’s a level of fruitiness you don’t usually get with an Imperial Stout – more forest fruits and dark creamy chocolate, too.

Verdict: With the intense flavours and high carbonation it almost reminds us of a dark Belgian beer. In a good way.

Food pairing: We wouldn’t normally think about fish and chips with an Imperial Stout. However on this occasion the fruity flavours are a good contrast to the creaminess of the fish, and that carbonation will cut right through any greasiness the batter.

Fighting Ale Imperial Stout – ABV 11.5%

Jet black and characterful, the resinous hops and carbonation  Howling Hops’ impy stout give this an amazingly smooth finish for a hard-hitting 11 percenter.

Look: Fighting Ale pours like the blackest of nights with a mid-brown head that quickly dissipates leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

Aroma: A blast of resinous hops in perfect balance with roasted malts and dark chocolate.

Taste: It is well-bodied with a good level of carbonation giving it a lovely mouthfeel and helping the hops shine against the solid roasted malt body.

Verdict: Where did they hide the alcohol? This is supremely easy drinking for an 11.5% ABV beer and we love it.

Gozer Imperial Oatmeal Stout – ABV 9.8%

Kaapse’s flagship beer; big on red fruits, fresh espresso and roasted malts. We tasted this in Rotterdam, and couldn’t resist having a few cases shipped over.

Look: The beer pours black in the glass with barely any head

Aroma: Roasted malt with fruity fresh roast coffee beans.

Taste: Dark chocolate with a sweet fruitiness that gives the beer a lovely Belgian-style twist.

Verdict: . ‘Gozer’ means bloke or lad in Dutch – and this gozer is a top bloke.

White Russian Imperial Stout – ABV 9%

A distinctly different variant of Partizan’s excellent Stout, amped up to 9% and with honey, cocoa nibs and coffee, for a creamy mouthfeel and warm, boozy buzz.

Look: Just like the regular version, it pours black-brown with a frothy tan-brown head.

Aroma: The new variant of the Stout has sweet lactose sugars, chocolate and espresso – exactly like a White Russian cocktail.

Taste: Sweetness the honey alongside roasted chocolate malt and coffee – plus a bit of extra warmth the higher ABV.

Verdict: It’s only when you sip the White Russian that the beer truly reveals itself as a full-on Dessert Stout. It’s sweet, creamy and delicious.