The annual release of Two Hundred Fathoms is upon us. If you are not aware of it, this is a highly rated and limited release barrel aged Imperial Stout from Galway Bay Brewery. It is a big rich and malty stout aged for three months in freshly emptied Teeling’s Small Batch whiskey casks.
The colour of the beer is as black as one can get with a mocha coloured head. The aroma is a heady mix of chocolate, whiskey, vanilla, caramel, dried fruit and treacle. These notes follow through to bold yet rounded flavour profile with a velvety smooth full body before a superbly long boozey finish with a hoppy bite.
So then, time to raid the beer stash and see how age effects this beer with a vertical tasting of the last of 2015 release I had tucked away. A vertical tasting is taking the same beer from different years to see how it has evolved in bottle. Unfortunately, my stash of the 2016 release has long since been enjoyed but 2015 vs 2017 was a great experience.
So how does the 2015 compare to the new release? With ageing in bottle, the hoppy notes have naturally subsided, along with lower carbonation and the perception of more integrated whiskey flavours. It carries through with the same flavour profile as the 2017 but in a softer, subtler fashion with an elegant touch. Quite simply a joy to drink.
If you have the patience and the restraint I would highly recommend laying this down for a couple of years, of course you could always buy one to drink now and one to age and compare with future releases. You can check out my quick guide to building up a beer stash here. This is a limited release, however, so be sure to pick up a bottle or two before they disappear for another year.
Also, to celebrate the release of the Two Hundred Fathoms we also have the core Galway Bay range on offer this month with Full Sail, Bay Ale, Althea and Buried at Sea, you can pick these great beers up for 4 for €12 online and in stores for May.