Having thoroughly enjoyed part I of Open It! Weekend I decided to follow up my tasting of I Hardcore You with tonights offering. A bottle of Celebration Stout from the Porterhouse Brewing Company. This particular bottle is from 2009 and typically Porterhouse produce a version every year. Celebration Stout is a bottle conditioned Imperial Stout weighing in at a hefty 7% (well hefty in terms of Irish beers), previous versions of this beer have been up to 10% ABV.
After a vigorous pour I was left with a jet black beer with a large fluffy tan head. Strong roasted character to the aroma with hints of dark fruits (that reminded me of Christmas cake!) and some earthy spice in the background. Medium bodied with a velvety mouthfeel and quite a high level of carbonation which acts to clean the palate of the velvet texture. Very complex flavours, chocolate is there, but muted, the roastiness does not really come through as expected, however what you do get is quite a large hit of alcohol and a slightly cloying sensation on the end, followed by a dry bitterness. This beer is possibly slightly too cold and too gassy, will leave it sit in the glass for a while before continuing......
Sometime later.....The large head that it started off with dissipated quite quickly to leave a thin tan line. Unfortunately the first notable change I get from this beer when it warms up is a diacetyl smell and some phenols. This beer is supposed to age pretty well, but from this I think this bottle may be beyond redemption. If you can block out the aroma the beer tastes ok, but unfortunately I can't get away from that aroma.
Unfortunately this has proven a very disappointing follow up to I Hardcore You. I have another bottle of Celebration Stout in my stash and so I will maybe reserve final judgement on this until I have left that age a bit further.