I have no idea how to start this post.
I've only ever tried a couple of Black and Tans in my life, and they've always been from English brewers.
I do however, know my Imperial IPAs, and I certainly know my Imperial Stouts! Mix them together?? Sounds perfect on paper, but what is it like in reality? Would it work? With such extreme flavours on display, should you even bother? Well one brewery has certainly tried to dare!
I'm talking of course of Evil Twin Brewing (perfect name if you ask me, and an even more perfect name for the beers!)
Lets break this down. Yin is an Imperial Taiji Stout coming in at 10%. Yang is a 10% Imperial Taiji IPA. Personally I think they may have got these the wrong way round, I would have the Imperial Stout as the last, but that's just me. They state on the bottle that these two beers are absolutely perfect on their own, but so much better blended together. Could this be true? Could my favourite beer style and my second favourite beer style really be married into one glorious style of beer? Well lets bloody find out! But first lets look at the beers on there own:
We'll start with the Yang. (see it's a little strange to start with the Yang, with it being the lighter.) This is a dark looking Imperial IPA. The classic aromas of caramel and grapefruit lunge forward with side notes of lemon-grass and dried straw. The flavour pushes forward with a massive biscuit malt body which is followed with notes of caramel, toffee, a little marmalade and lots of chewy - rum soaked raisins. The finish is long and bitter. Very warming, (unsurprising for 10%) this beer starts very sweet and juicy but there's a huge dryness in the finish with almost a straw like tartness.
Next up was the Yin: a 10% Imperial Stout Bruiser! It pours much thicker and richer looking than the Yang, and the head rises much smoother looking - very much like the perfect brown edges of a super cappuccino, but all over. The aroma is mental. It's so meaty! Massive salty smoked salami flavours rise from this darkened drink, I can't help but think this is a smoked I.S.. I've not actually smelled an Imperial Stout like this before so this is beginning to get exiting. It starts very rich and very sweet. I'm thinking this must be smoked now, because of the flavours. Either that, or aged in some Islay whisky casks! All the classic IS flavours are there too, shed loads of dried/charred fruits. It's big and boozy but it's also balanced. The finish is super bitter, and everything I really want from an Imperial Stout, but what are they like together??
Well, first things first... the coffee maker in me couldn't resist doing this!!:
Yes! That's your half and half right there. Your layered latte, read it and weep.
Now of course for anyone who buys a layered latte, the rule is you need to take at least 15 seconds to look at, and appreciate the latte before you stir it all up into a drink, otherwise your just an inconsiderate dick. So that's what I did before I stirred it up. This is what I was presented with afterwards, my own Yin & Yang half and half, Black & Tan:
Turns out I was rather wrong! The two blended perfectly together. You certainly got a big IIPA aroma which masked well, any flavours I got from the stout, like salty meats. It's also perfectly balanced, these two really do work together - it's clear a lot of thought has gone into this. I couldn't help but think though, like a couple of others had said to me, that this was just really a great big Black IPA, and to be truthful, that really didn't bother me. What would you really expect from mixing these two styles? Would a Black IPA or an Imperial Black IPA be a bad outcome? I don't really think so. This was a fantastic experience. I've never had anything like this, so I'd love it if some other brewers tried a similar thing. The only question that is left unanswered is this: I have no idea about this brewery, and where they're from, so I just need someone to explain this to me (see bottom):