O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
33 Spruce Avenue Stillorgan Industrial Park Co. Dublin Ireland Ireland
+353 1 2931040 online@obrienswine.ie Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm Sunday 12:30am-10pm


  • Russian Imperial

    I don’t usually limit this blog to just one beer, there’s just too much to choose from, but this one caught my attention and well there is a lot to talk about.

    The beer? Black Chocolate Stout, a seasonal release from Brooklyn Brewery. This ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ has made its way across the water once again, and it’s one I look forward to each year.

    First a little history lesson… In the early 18th century, Anchor Brewery in London began exporting their stout to Russia. The first shipment seemingly didn’t survive the voyage, the second attempt, with higher alcohol and bitterness quickly gained popularity. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was reportedly one such fan of the style. Hence the name adopted by the Anchor brewery, Russian Imperial Stout. The name stuck for this rich, dark and boozy take on stout.

    Brooklyn are laying down a marker for this Black Chocolate Stout by calling it a Russian Imperial, a stout that leans heavily on the hops and alcohol content, but you have to have plenty of malt to back it up.

    I think they’ve nailed. The aroma is upfront rich dark chocolate with hints of coffee and dark dried fruit. The body is velvety smooth, its drinkability aided by low, soft carbonation while the high alcohol content is noticeable more in the viscosity than flavour.  That flavour delivers roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate notes with hints of black coffee and vanilla while those bitter hop notes finish it off.

    This beer’s robust nature and high alcohol content makes it a great contender for aging. Check out my blog from a while back on developing your beer cellar. Of course, it tastes great now. Go all out and try it with some rich chocolate dessert!


  • Going Vertical

    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.

    Freshly emptied Teelings whiskey barrels

    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.

    Galway Bay core range on offer for May

    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.


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