Thornbridge Necessary Evil, Thornbridge
Added: Monday, July 1st 2019
Thornbridge Necessary Evil 13%
This imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels is the result of a challenge from the brewery’s bosses to head brewer Rob Lovatt. While the brewery has produced a number of dark beers in the past, such as St Petersburg Stout, since Rob arrived he had concentrated on paler beers.
He accepted the challenge to make the best strong dark ale possible. On a trip to the United States he brought back samples of Firestone Walker’s Parabola, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Alesmith’s Speedway Stout. Back at the brewery, Rob says, he and his team “pulled the beers apart”, analysed them and decided to brew an imperial stout aged in Jim Beam bourbon casks.
Rob used both the house yeast strain and a California strain and loaded the mash tun with as much grain – ranging from pale to roast – as it could hold.
Following fermentation, the beer was matured in a steel tank for two weeks and then transferred to the bourbon casks and aged for eight months.
Rob says he “looked for the right balance of oak and vanilla until the beer became silky as a result of the long ageing.”
Necessary Evil has a massive aroma of oak, tannins, caramel, vanilla, roasted grain and heady bourbon notes. Sweet fruit, whiskey, vanilla and caramel dominate the palate, with strong hints of espresso coffee and gentle spicy hops. The finish has enormous length, bittersweet to start, with oak and whiskey dominating but with growing notes of dark berry fruits, coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla and spicy hops. It’s stunning and complex, with great depth.