Taking inspiration both from our rich British brewing heritage and the interest in modern imperial stouts we turned our attention to the possibilities of big dark stout in the colder months to create a beer full of character and complexity using traditional ingredients alone. The Black Treacle Stout is born.
We’ve previously used muscovado sugars, natural raw honey and maple syrups in our big beers and inspired by fresh interest in what big dark malt driven beers can do we pushed our recipe to the limit, reaching for more raw roasted barley than we have ever used. We doubled the boil length to add caramelisation and glooped in 100 kilos of jet-black treacle molasses to add another layer of dark spicy roast flavour.
Historically treacles and sugars were used in brewing to avoid taxes on use of malt, until the excise got wise and taxed the final alcohol instead. Black treacle, made from cane sugar molasses comes from the first stage in harvesting of cane sugar. It is the concentrated raw sugar that through the process of refining, eventually become the pure white sugars you might put in your cup of tea. In its largely unprocessed form, it's full of chewy toffee, liquorice and dark caramelised hedgerow fruits. We add it to a simple recipe base of English grown Marris Otter barley malt, deep-roasted raw barley grain and Kent grown Bramling Cross hops to produce a big luxurious treat of a beer.
We are really proud of this beer. Despite its relative simplicity, the magic of pitch-black roasted barley combined with the intense jammy flavours of the molasses produces a beer that is a real adventure to drink. Full bodied but not cloyingly sweet, its flavours are complex, initially a good bitter whack of roast coffee and sweet treacle and as it warms in the glass, sweet black cherry, raisins and a touch of smoke.