Friday, June 23, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #31 Craft Stout/Porter with Mescan, Wicklow Wolf, McGill's and Whiplash.

CorkBillyBeers #31

Craft Stout/Porter with Mescan, Wicklow Wolf, McGill's and Whiplash.

According to, the name stout comes from the term stout porter, describing a bolder permutation of the popular porter style during the 17th century. Stouts are considered to have stronger roasted flavours than porters but can vary in character from dry, smooth and sweet or strong and bitter, depending on the type.


Mescan Seven Virtues Baltic Porter, 9.5% ABV, 330 ml bottle

Just over 12 months back, Mescan Brewery introduced their Baltic Porter: Baltic-style porters were that region's interpretation of Imperial Stouts - the very strong, dense beers commissioned from London in the late 1800s by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (who, in 1783, was not the last Russian leader to annex Crimea and adjacent parts of southern Ukraine). The Baltic brewers made their version at low temperatures using lager yeasts and locally available ingredients. As have we. The result is a strong, full-bodied, smooth and dangerously drinkable porter!

Mescan's porter, part of their Seven Virtues series, comes with a black body and a lovely soft-tanned head. Aromas of roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel rise from the glass. But it is the palate that really engages your senses, your taste buds joyfully aware that something exotic is spreading their way with a dense and pleasant lightness, sweet toffee apple flavours impossible to resist as they lift you through to the most satisfying of finishes. It looks very much as if Empress Catherine the Great knew her beer. Mescan certainly do.

Very Highly Recommended.

I wonder if the Empress paired it with chocolate tart and desserts. Ideal, say Mescan and go on to recommend their Baltic with blue cheese and other stronger ones.

Their full Food Pairing Suggestions list is:

• oysters

• smoked fish with good butter and nice brown bread

• hearty stews of slow-cooked dark meats

• sticky toffee pudding

• chocolate tart with sour cream;

  • cheeses - particularly smoked cheese or creamy, washed rind cheeses

Serving Temp 4-6 °C


Wicklow Wolf Another Nut (Pastry Stout), 5.5% ABV, 440ml can

A well-tanned head sits atop a dense black body when you’ve poured Another Nut, Wicklow Wolf’s Pastry Stout, into your glass. “Inspired by the infamous chocolate spread that we have all grown up with, we thought it would make for a very interesting flavour profile in a stout.” 

That is their excuse. Non-Irish speakers and those who have had forgotten their Irish lessons after the first class, won't know that the Irish (well, half-Irish) for Another Nut is Nut Eile (Nutella). If you’re explaining, you are losing, so I'll stop digging now.

And I’ll nose it instead. And it's chocolate and hazelnut and I remember I bought a hazelnut coffee at Christmas and didn’t like it at all.

But then, I drink Riesling even if it often smells of diesel. So there’s hope yet, even after the first sip. Sip number two more or less condemns it to my also-rans. Not the one for me.

Perhaps, as a peace baby, raised on ration cards in post-war Britain, I’m just not that decadent. No doubt though some of you won’t remember the hard times around the cabin door and can easily engage with this “delicious, decadent stout with lashings of chocolate and hazelnut aromas and flavours”.

Another Nut is brewed with milk chocolate, speciality chocolate malt, Tanzanian cocoa nibs, Milk Sugar and finished on Roasted Hazelnuts.

Geek Bits

Hops etc - Bravo, Sorachi Ace, Tanzanian Cocoa Nibs, Milk Chocolate, Roasted Hazelnuts, Milk Sugar.

Pale, Dark Wheat, Cara, Dark Crystal, Chocolate, CARAFA Special Type 3, Golden Naked Oats


McGill’s Dark Sky Reserve Irish Stout 4.5% ABV, 500ml bottle Centra Waterville

McGill’s ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ is a traditional Irish Stout inspired by the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve. This region has been designated Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Reserve by the IDA. The Iveragh Peninsula is one of only three Gold Tier Reserves on the planet, and the only Gold Tier Reserve in the Northern Hemisphere.

The stout itself has that dark sky colour for sure. And aromas of chocolate, hints of coffee too. You’ll meet that chocolate and coffee again on the palate. Quite a lot of sweetness is evident in recent Irish stouts but this one is a little more bitter than you’d expect, nothing untoward though, and at 4.5% ABV it fits neatly into the session category.

Irish dry stout is based on the use of roasted barley. Here that emphasis with a moderate degree of roasted malt aromas defines much of the character. Hop bitterness is medium to medium-high.

McGill’s say each beer is unique to the area of South Kerry. “They reflect our local heroes, culture, and history. In our small brewery, we handcraft our beers with care perfecting traditional Irish beer styles using our state-of-the-art brewery system. We hope you enjoy tasting our beers as much as we do producing them. ‘Sláinte agus fad saol agat’ (Health and long life to you).”

Enjoy the stout (and that long life) all the better with oysters, ham and cheese sandwiches. Of course, when you cross the county bounds and hit Cork city, bodice is your only man with the black stuff!

Highly Recommended.


Whiplash Keeping Porter 6.1% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

This Whiplash Keeping Porter is a collaboration with the UK’s Left Handed Giant Brewing Co. 

This back to the future beer is a staff pick, according to Whiplash. “Left Handed Giant came to came to visit us in February and we knew we wanted to brew something more traditional - enter Keeping Porter, inspired by a recipe we found from the 1840s. We're both really into historical brews so this was the perfect chance to have a go at something like this. It's a beautiful beer, coming in at 6.1% and single-decocted to unleash these rich, dark sugarages."

The collaboration with Left Handed Giant, a nod to the shipping history between Dublin and Bristol, is loaded with coffee notes, the sweet kind, just under the limit as far as this palate is concerned.

Whiplash Beer was founded in 2016 by Alex Lawes and Alan Wolfe and is based in Ballyfermot, Dublin. What started out as a series of limited releases on the side for the two brewery professionals soon grew into a full-time brand with award-winning beers, “brewing in facilities across Ireland and wider Europe”. 

Their own brewery was officially commissioned in 2019 and produces three core beers, Body Riddle (a juicy American pale ale), Rollover (juicy hoppy session IPA) and Northern Lights (micro IPA), along with an ever-changing and exciting roster of special editions and collaborations.

Highly Recommended.

No comments: