Craft Beer: Farmegeddon's Baltic Porter a real beast of a beer
THERE'S nothing like a half a millimetre of snow to make us lose our minds here. There's a certain masochistic streak to us when it comes to extreme weather. Yes, we all want that big dump of snow that Barra Best promised, but not when it takes us three hours to get home from work.
Of course, we get off extremely lightly when it comes to winter weather. It's ironic that one those unique north of Ireland ways of describing extreme cold here is 'baltic'.
"Aye, it's friggin' baltic, so it is," is the standard reaction to the temperature dropping to anything below five degrees – not exactly the -30C you might get in downtown Vilnius or Tallinn in depths of winter.
Out of such harsh weather was born Baltic porter. A strong, full bodied take on traditional English porters, with a few features of Russian imperial stout chucked in there too. Think strong, malty yet bitter.
So as temperatures circled around zero last week, I got my hands of some of Farmegeddon's barrel-aged Baltic Porter. This is a beast of a beer – 10.8 per cent abv, jet black, it pours like oil from the bottle.
There's a lovely roasty aroma which also includes hints of dark fruit. The porter has been dry hopped over coffee beans, and that roastiness definitely comes through in the flavour, once that syrupy glow of the whiskey that slides down your throat begins to fade.
The oakiness from the barrel aging gives it a caramel and vanilla backbone and I followed the instructions on the pint-sized bottle to the letter – enjoying it in front of a roaring fire.
There are some great complex flavours once you get over the double-digits abv and there's a little tangy bitterness to it too. That strength, though, means that a 500ml bottle can last you half the evening (let's face it, nobody's tucking this bad boy away for a crafty lunchtime pint) or, better still, can be shared with a fellow beer lover.