Stout and porter time – Red Duck and Malt Shovel

At Schloss Shanahan we up our stout and porter buying in winter, leaning towards slightly higher-than-normal alcohol content. That little extra seems to boost the aroma and warm generosity of these generous, warming beer styles.

We’ve tried a few lately and particularly like Malt Shovel’s one-off seasonal brew – Mad Brewers Stout Noir, made at the Malt Shovel Brewery, Camperdown, Sydney, by Chuck Hahn and Tony Jones.

It’s a big, complex ale of many parts: three different malts (pale chocolate, dark crystal and wheat), two hop varieties (Australian Super Pride and New Zealand Alpha) and a dash of liquorice root (gycyrrhiza glabra).

The liquorice root, says Hahn and Jones, “adds a rich complexity to the satisfying hoppy finish”. We love it because the diverse flavour elements work together, delivering a smokey, rich, brisk, complex and very drinkable stout.

Red Duck Unfiltered Porter 330ml $4.75
Red Duck, a strong dark ale from Camperdown, Victoria, presents the gentle side of porter – though at 6.4 per cent alcohol it packs a kick. It’s dark but not opaque, deep brown rather than black, and fruity and opulent, but soft, with lingering malty rather than hops aftertaste.

Malt Shovel Mad Brewers Stout Noir 640ml $9.99
The ebullient, persistent foam sets the tone for stout noir. A slightly smokey, roasted coffee bean aroma leads to a luxuriously malty, seven-per-cent alcohol palate. Zesty acidity cuts the very complex, chocolaty, roasted malt flavours. And hops bitterness subtly, and barely, counters the smooth, sweetening influence of liquorice root.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011