When I was up at Kiuchi Brewery, I helped make a second beer. Actually, my friend E did almost everything but I conversed with him about it and how to make it. He wanted to make a stout with some licorice and maple notes. He added some licorice and a special spice to Hitachino Nest’s Sweet Stout formula. I don’t believe they used the exact same recipe but since we weren’t planning to make one of their beers, we can’t really say if the recipe is the same or not.
The beer came at the same time as my beer and was black as a stout should be. It was a nice beer but very sticky when I poured it. Everything looked okay until I took my first sip. It was way too sweet. It had too much maple flavouring and it affected the overall taste. It wasn’t very balanced but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that it was a good dessert beer. Like an ice wine, this beer is nice and sweet but almost too sweet. It would go very well with a lemon tart but it would have to be a sour tart, not a sweet one.
Making beer is an experiment. It is no different to making dinner. You can substitute out different ingredients and you can try different things to adjust the flavours but in the end, until you make it you don’t know what it will taste like. You can either complain and cry that something didn’t come out the way you wanted it, or you could be happy and just try to spin it to be positive.
While the sweet stout collaboration wasn’t something we like to have all the time, it wasn’t a disaster. I did share it with many other people and they seemed to enjoy it. I guess it really is up to the person who tries it to judge whether they like it or not. I hope to be able to refine this one as well and see how it turns out, but I doubt I’ll be doing that anytime soon.