Big Blue (Stewart Brewing / Kinnegar Brewing)

Big Blue is a Spiced Blueberry Stout and is a collaboration between Stewart Brewing and Kinnegar Brewing. It was released as part of the limited edition Project 7 range of exciting and innovative styles.

There’s very few new beer releases I get excited for – I’m just not that kind of beer fan. It could be that I’m far too laid back for all that waiting-in-line carry on. But when I heard this one was going to be released I must admit I got a little excited and vowed to track it down. A man in The Vineyard, Belfast was nearly trampled during the exchange but here it is in all its glory :

I scuttled down Ormeau Road with this one held tightly and trekked into town to grab the train home, possibly knocking over children and pensioners in the process. It’s a Friday afternoon and I want to get home and savour this one.

Back in the Beer cave and it’s time to crack this 440ml boi open. The Blueberry smell is unmistakable yet subtle. The smell isn’t sickly or savagely blueberry, it doesn’t waft and there isn’t an aggressive carbonation release which would be par for the stout course.

It pours as thick dark goodness which opens the smell up a bit more into a fresh blueberry stout aroma. There is no head to speak of, but a satisfying light caramel-coloured foam which clings nicely.

The initial taste is a luxuriantly rich and decadent stout. Big Blue is malty and oaty in equal measures. It’s smooth to begin, giving way to an almost bitter middle and slight burn to finish. The aftertaste is quite peppery but nothing to make your eyes water and seems to pair well with blue cheese.

There’s a slight dryness that other stouts don’t produce which could be down to the Blueberry juice itself. There’s also an added smugness to the self-insinuation that you could possibly be getting your 5-a-day.

The stout part of Big Blue reveals that chocolatey vibe for just a second before the Cardamom burn kicks in. But then Chilli and Chocolate are taste bud bedfellows ………………tastebudfellows……..

Big Blue is part of the limited edition Project 7 range which explores exciting and innovative styles and i’d say they have that part nailed with Big Blue. I’m already a great fan of both breweries and have tackled a few of their outputs over the years.

I personally tend to prefer the sweet stouts but this one is plucking at my intrigue. Definitely a slow-sipper for sure. I could see myself whiling away a night in the bar with this number by an open fire. This seems like the type of stout you share old stories with good friends over.

I’m not sure I would make this one a regular occurrence, however. I’ve recommended it to a few people already as one of those brews you must try. It’s enjoyable and a bit of a novelty and I’m sure I will return to it multiple times (pending availability) but I’m not ready to give up my Guinness regime just yet.

Weighing in at 7% and 52 IBU it’s a well-crafted brew either way and the lads have done well here! Berry good.

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