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Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Scottsbeer, Nov 5, 2020.
B. United imports the version brewed by Harvey in the UK.
A. Le Coq's Imperial Extra Double Stout
I was shocked when I once found the A. Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout for sale in California last year - not the Harvey's beer, but from drinks manufacturer A. Le Coq in Estonia. My pics below starting with Harvey's.
The Harvey's recreation that's based on the Barclay Perkins stout was requested by B United and brewed with the cooperation of A. Le Coq. The Harvey's stout is bottle conditioned, 9% ABV, highly hopped, and helped by the presence of Debaromyces hanseni. It's by far my favorite imperial stout, but it's clearly not for everyone. On RateBeer, Harvey's imperial stout has a "style score" of 21 out of 100. Unbelievable. For me, the beer is a unique medley of dark fudge, tobacco, maraschino cherry, sourness, firm hop bitterness, and a burnt edge that miraculously work together rather than fight each other. The newest bottling of it that I could find in the US was 2013.
The current Estonian A. Le Coq imperial stout is a different animal than the Harvey's beer.
It's 7% ABV, 18 IBU (!), and made with flaked oats and hop extract. They have "endeavoured to follow the original recipe as closely as possible." I'm assuming they are talking about the recipe for an early 20th century Estonian brewed stout, but I have no idea. I always assume similar claims are more about marketing than authenticity. The A. Le Coq website claims: "The tsar enjoyed eating oysters, which were served with a vinaigrette sauce made from Imperial Extra Double Stout." For me, this stout tastes of prunes, cherry, dark chocolate, licorice, a slight bitterness, and a hint of acidity. Whereas the Harvey's stout feels like an odd one-of-a-kind beer in today's environment (and a beast of a beer), the A. Le Coq stout reminded me of a typical continental stout from the region. If I had it alongside a so-called Baltic porter for a more direct comparison, I might feel very differently though. I can't say I enjoyed this particular beer. Dorpat is supposedly another name for Tartu in Estonia.
For the Harvey's beer, early bottlings (early 2000s) had cork issues so there were condition problems on top of everything else. It was kind of like rolling the dice whether you'd get a flat and oxidized one or not. So that may have negatively impacted the score somewhat.
But when they were 'on' they were spectacular.
Wow now I really want to try this. Guess I'll just have to salve my wound with a BCBS (found the wheat wine just now)
I remember someone here describing A. Le Coq many years ago as tasting like liquid telephone post. Ha!
I did like it and always had a bottle saved for very important occasions.
I had the last one for the series finale of the new/latest Battlestar Galactica.
That makes total business sense.
But my emotional response is different.
I wish there were more space for imports as well.
American craft beer is great, but it'd be nice to have a selection of Imports as well.
But how similar is today's Golding to the hop grown 200 years ago? My guess is just a little. We will never really know.
@zid ISO Harvey's Imperial Stout.
I don't see why Goldings should have changed much, given that hops are cloned, not grown from seed.
Genetic drift still occurs: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110804212931.htm
Was it frackin’ good?
They coat telephone poles with creosote, IIRC, so I can relate to that. I've used that description for a few really harsh beers.
Yeah but does that mean whoever originally said that went around licking telephone poles?
It's one of the best ways to get the taste of horse blanket out of your mouth.
All you have to do is stand next to one on a hot summer day and inhale -- you'll know the character forever.
I'd suggest trying a couple bottles before buying many. The 2003s that I bought recently have an undesirable tartness to them.
Why would I want to do that?
Living in Casper, you're probably immune.
Ha! There's a Le Coq Double that I had that embraced horse blanket and I embraced that beer!
Why aren't there more beers like that, especially in this day and age with brett beers everywhere?!!
The Courage Russian Imperial Stout, rather the Barclay's Perkins version from 1968, was divine and brought the Brett after +50 years.
Brettanomyces in Imperial Stouts...a match made in heaven imho.
Yes, of course!
Down to the last fracking drop!
True, but terroir is incredibly important with hops. Goldings grown elsewhere don't taste like those grown in Kent. Even if the genetics have wobbled a bit, that's trumped by the climate and soil chemistry of Kent.
I'm not claiming that modern Goldings taste identical to those from 200 years ago, but they're probably pretty damn similar.
BTW, there's not actually such a thing as EKG. It's a marketing term. Under which various related varieties of hops are marketed.
I've another crate and a half of this wonderfulness.
Best beer I've ever drunk by a street and a half.
Turn up at my house and say: "Prove Courage Russian Stout is the bestest beer ever" and I'll split a bottle with you to prove my point.
Second best beer ever brewed, in my opinion. Love that Debarromyces.
Careful what you wish for! I'm booking a flight when I get my vaccine.
My thanks SB for helping to get many of the best beers I've ever had into my hands.
Ed’s Beer Blog discusses the various hop varieties under the ‘umbrella’ of Goldings. Some snippets (with emphasis in bold by me):
“The different varieties have come from clonal selection of bud sports and are very similar plants with differences in ripening times and disease resistance.
Back in the day it was important for hop farmers to grow a range of varieties which had staggered ripening times so they were able to spread the time of picking and drying. Increased disease resistance has obvious benefits and both mutants with different ripening times and disease resistance can be relatively easily selected from a population.”
“The National Hop Collection has ten different varieties of Goldings:
· Canterbury Whitebine
· Canterbury Golding
· Mercers or Rodmersham Golding
· Petham Golding
· Amos’s Early Bird
· Eastwell Golding and Late Eastwell Golding”
I have been annually brewing a batch of Bitter Ale since the 1990’s heavily featuring hops labeled as “East Kent Goldings” and I am very happy to report that I have obtained consistent aroma/flavor profiles from those hops.
Needless to say but in contemporary brewing the ‘sexy’ new hops (e.g., Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic,...) get the most love but I personally very much appreciate the qualities that an old school hop like East Kent Goldings provide to a beer style like a Bitter Ale.
Cheers (once again) to Mr. Golding!
Well, when I said, "Was it frackin' good?" I wasn't disputing how good the beer was, it was just a Battlestar Galactica reference.
But if I'm ever in the Netherlands I'll take you up on that offer!
Ed's guidance stopped me spouting a whole load of bollocks on English hops in my book The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.
You're welcome. As is everyone. I'm under strict orders to get rid of my beer stock. I've also got a dozen or so Lambiks that are 20 years old or more.
I just love when you 'say' that word!
You da man!
Caps are better than corks in beer and wine. You're correct, these older bottlings were highly variable. The really bad ones tasted like what I would imagine bong water might.
You got me with terroir; I concede the point.
Let me know where to send the prepaid shipping container.
That Harveys beer Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing this info.
Well, that certainly sounds serious. Hope it's nothing more serious than freeing up storage space.
It is those hops from County Kent that mesmerized this 19 year old in 1970. Those beers were not like anything that I had tasted before. I can still taste the beers and it did lead to a life in the beverage industry. All of this may change but it's not going away!
Could swear I had heard about the brothers fighting among themselves as well as Dan basically being a dick. I have no first hand experience with the brothers themselves but I remember when BA used to do the Belgian beer fest --there were VIP tickets you could buy for like $10 extra and it allowed you to try a lot of the much more expensive stuff.. Plenty of it was at the Shelton brothers booth/table.I'm sure if the demand is there--someone else will step in and take over the imports of these brands.Oh well you reap what you sow ...and I'm sure the covid thing just accelerated this downfall.
This is sad! They import some great beers! My favorite Mahrs Kellerbier Ungespundet. I hope another importer picks up Mahrs.