Beer of the Week: Three Hills BPAVK Speyside Blend Russian Imperial Stout
From a relatively gentle 5%-er IPA to a great big 10% stout... I don't know about anyone else but this week has felt very long indeed, and a big proper impy stout was exactly the pick-me-up I needed on Tuesday evening.
are a Northamptonshire brewery founded in 2017, but they expanded into London in 2020 with a new brewery and taproom (opening date t.b.c. given current circumstances) and have really picked up production pace! BPAVK is a whole series of Russian Imperial Stouts and this particular version is their first ever barrel-aged stout.
The BPAVK Speyside Blend
pours very dark and dense, with decent carbonation and strong caramel and Christmas pudding aromas. On taking a gulp, it becomes more chocolatey, with a dark chocolate bitterness, and some toffee carrying through with raisin and a little bit of banana. It has really good body, quite enough without lactose thanks very much, and was exactly the right level of sweetness, just balancing the bitterness and alcohol but no more than that, making it surprisingly quaffable for being 10%.
In terms of the Speyside whisky barrel ageing, I think this is a really, really good example of what it can add when it's done well—you get some beautiful whisky notes but not really the burn, and because they're not peated it's not just overwhelming smokiness either. It really adds another layer of complexity to the beer without overpowering it, and I would recommend this not just to fans of the style but also to those who might have been put off by some not-so-good examples.