Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point 02 – Imperial Stout at 11% ABV

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point 02 Imperial Stout at 11% ABV (C$17.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, packaged on 26-Aug-2018, best before 1-Aug-2023, acquired 7-Jan-2019, reviewed 27-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with deep amber relief at the margins, one finger of rocky beige head, decent retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bourbon, molasses, dark fruit, coconut, nuts. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

It’s funny how, confronted with one special release I&G, I initially balked, but when I saw the second one, I said to hell with it and bought both. Apparently, one chance of being disappointed isn’t sufficient for me, but two chances are? Though, I guess, given my pre-existing attitude towards I&G, “disappointed” isn’t the right word – more like “justified in my opinion”. This one’s predecessor, in particular, was a particularly mediocre offering, causing me to say at the time that I’d probably never bother to buy another I&G. And yet, here we are. The first version of this was “200 days aged in first fill barrels”, while this is “barrel aged for 365 days in first fill bourbon casks” – and damn if it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. The original had sharp bourbon notes on top of weak darkly roasted malts, with a thin-tending body, while this is much smoother, richer, and fuller. (Mind you, it’s not lost upon me that it’s also 28% more expensive…) Don’t get me wrong: I’m not about to start singing their praises or anything – but I might be willing to buy 03 next year, possibly even without the inducement of another special release to double down. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze