Awkward second date

Detail from the label of St Petersburg Stout (via Thornbridge website)

Do you ever avoid a special beer you’ve really enjoyed in the past because you have a feeling it just won’t excite you the same way second time around?

We have wondered why we haven’t got round to having a second bottle of Thornbridge’s St Petersburg Imperial Russian Stout and perhaps that was the reason, as we really did enjoy it last time, back when Thornbridge were up-and-coming and causing a buzz.

Fortunately, it didn’t disappoint, although we detected a more pronounced, pleasantly funky brettanomyces and tobacco character this time, reminding us of Harvey’s or even that 1983 Courage we enjoyed in Antwerp. Complex yet comforting, a perfect, slow-sipping Christmas beer, despite it’s tasteful label and reindeer-pun-free name.

8 thoughts on “Awkward second date”

  1. If I loved a beer 1st time round then yes I will have it again. However, if I didn’t like it then I will be put off trying again or trying different versions.

    I’m not actually a fan of St Petersburg for instance. Just tastes like coffee flavoured stodge to me and as such I haven’t returned to it. Haven’t tried the keg version either which is on quite often at the Thornbridge pub nearest to me. Haven’t tried it since they reduced the strengh to 7.4% either.

    But the thing is, sometimes it is possible to return to a beer and find it’s much improved or you can taste things in it that you couldn’t 1st time round!

  2. I wasn’t that taken with it, as it tastes like it’s got smoked malt in it which really isn’t my thing. I’m tempted to give it another go now though.

  3. Just the right amount of smokiness for us, but can see how it might be too much for some people. (I don’t mean “ha ha, you’re a wuss”, I mean it’s one of those flavours that can easily turn a good beer into a bad one, depending on individual taste.)

  4. T_i_B — are you a fan of imperial stouts more generally? Coffee-flavoured stodge could apply to quite a lot of them…

    1. Not all Impy stouts are coffee flavoured stodge. I’ve just been drinking some Spire Prince Igor that that’s got some lovely liquorice notes in it. And I certainly don’t recall Darkstar Imperial Stout being coffee flavoured stodge.

  5. Hello, Knut! Nice to hear from you. There are so many interesting beers that we hear about but never have chance to try. I imagine it would age very well — possibly a little brash as it is.

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