Name: HOBi-wan keNOBi Episode Two: Darkside Edition
Brewer: Bang the Elephant Brewing Co., Emperor’s Brewery, Abstract Jungle (United Kingdom)
Style: Mixed-Style Beer (Base Style: Imperial Stout)
Review Year: 2021
Hello there! HOBi-wan keNOBi Episode Two: Darkside Edition is pure Darkside decadence. Bang the Elephant, Damian Doherty (Emperor’s Brewery), and Abstract Jungle teamed up for this 11.8% Imperial Stout brewed with Chocolate Hob Nobs, golden syrup, and Muscovado sugar. This special second batch of HOBi-wan keNOBi was aged in 20-year-old rum barrels for 10 months and was finished with toasted coconut and Madagascar vanilla.
This beer is being evaluated as a Mixed-Style Beer (34B), combining Alternative Sugar Beer (31B), Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B), and Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (30A), with Imperial Stout (20C) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Opaque pitch black, thin brown head. Assertive aromas of rum (without the hot alcohol), lychee, coconut, cacao nibs, and caramel were noted initially. Revisiting after a while, low vanilla and toasted chocolate cookie joined in. Full-bodied, low carbonation; very chewy, smooth, with a very subtle astringency. Intense dark chocolate was noted against a backdrop of complex flavors that included moderately low fruits (grapes, lychees) and biscuits (graham crackers), cacao nibs, toasted coconut, and rum. Others noted additional anise, alcohol, burnt sugar, and red wine-like impressions. Semi-dry finish with a firm bitterness akin to that of a roasty dark chocolate. The aftertaste lingered long with toasted chocolate cookies, grapes, and even cacao nibs.
HOBi-wan keNOBi Episode Two: Darkside Edition is an outstanding example of how the hallmark qualities of Imperial Stouts can meld with pastry-inspired adjuncts and barrel conditioning without the cloying sweetness. We have never tried chocolate Hobnob cookies, so we cannot comment directly on this. But with regard to the overall presentation, the contributions of the toasted coconut, vanilla, and rum barrel conditioning were quite evident in the final product. Despite the presence of various pastry-inspired flavors, these were sufficiently supported by a firm, bitter, and roasty backbone. As for the noted astringency, this is not necessarily a fault for beers aged particularly with wood but said trait should never be high.
This collaboration Imperial Stout really is a massive beer that brings forward tons of decadent flavors. However, with its uniquely semi-dry and bittersweet finish, HOBi-wan keNOBi is one of those beers that leave you wanting for more after every after sip. Drink this while watching Obi-Wan Kenobi say “Hello there,” in Revenge of the Sith.
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