I've been drooling since I heard the news a few weeks back that perennial TGS demi-god Sean Franklin and his crack team at Roosters were brewing up some one-offs this year. Whiskey-Cask Matured Stout (5.7abv) is first on the list, and it doesn't disappoint.
From a brewery that is revered for its use of the aroma hop through pale ales, it's a welcome diversion from type. Firstly, the beer has a powerful aroma - peat, smoke and woody notes hit the nose in an alchohol-heavy haze that really punches the message home. This is a mature beer, and like it says on the pump-clip, the whiskey notes are right up front, not hiding in the background.
On the sip, that powerful aroma fades away, leaving a surprisingly smooth, roasted body with a bitter note at the end that's more espresso than bitter chocolate, with no real trace on the tongue of its not-to-be-messed-with abv. That smokiness lingers throughout. A longer-lasting head would have been nice, but that's just a petty remark at the end of an entirely enjoyable beer. You couldn't drink a lot of it, but that's beside the point - this is a wonderful beer, and an intruiging one at that - only a few hours later, I'm craving another hit.