We are down to the home stretch, and apologies in advance as I try to catch up on some of these reviews—the next few days might be a bit scattered and there might be some delays in posts. Yesterdays beer was an extra strong champagne yeast winter dark ale called Dark Signs by White Pony–the brewery is out of Italy, but the bottle is a bit confusing because it says product of Belgium.
The beer itself is quite the heavy hitter at 11.9%—as a seasoned beer drinker, this scares me. Champagne yeast? Bottle conditioned? 11.9%? This might be a hitter. I’d recommend sharing with a friend, there is no need to drink this one by yourself.
The beer itself is quite nice; it pours a rich amber, has a lot of effervescence and produces a cloud light white head that is neither heavy nor absent but dissipates rather quick. On the nose we have some sweetness, caramel malts, immediate booziness (think cognac or port) with a hint of spice. This is a good winter beer and it smells immediately warming—it’s all the scents you associate with an after dinner drink by the fireplace. You can almost smell the crackle of a fireplace, the mulled wine in the background. It’s aromatic and it’s nostalgic—for what exactly, I’m not sure, but I’m inspired to wear a tweed jacket while drinking this.
Flavour wise, we get a lot of upfront sweetness which is typical of champagne yeast beers; it’s just the way these things go. We get some immediate heat from the ABV, which at 11.9% is to be expected—I’d actually be nervous if I didn’t get any heat from it. It’s got a winey flavour reminiscent of port or cognac, which is nice, it gives the overall beer a certain depth. There are some floral hop profiles and hints of resin, which compliment the beer quite nicely. We’ve got some nice malt profile—bit of toasted biscuit, a smidge of burnt toffee flavour, a good dose of caramel. It’s a very nice beer. I think I go halfway through it before I realized I hadn’t eaten much yesterday and I still had a review to write. Thankfully, I keep a detailed journal as I am drinking to look back on. This is a good beer for a winter night—think puffy snowflakes in the background, crackling fire, a good book. I would pair this after dinner, and if forced to pair with a dinner, I’d actually put it with a nice pork roast or turkey, maybe some sticky toffee pudding.