Apart from the occasional strong Belgian beer, I tend to steer clear of really strong beers. While a 6 per cent Abbot Ale from Adnams is acceptable (and very tasty), anything stronger is a sure fire way to guarantee a hangover that would make the end of the world more than welcome. So it was with some trepidation I ‘reviewed’ a 9 per cent bottle of St Austell Brewery’s wonderfully-named ‘Big Job’. Not only is it very strong, it is, as the name suggests, very big – the size of a standard 750ml bottle of wine in fact.
With a price tag of £9.99 it’s definitely not something you are going to quaff a large quantity of either, unless you fancy yourself as some modern day Oliver Reed. The press release says it is packed full of as many Citra and Centennial hops as they could get their hands on and I can quite believe them. This drink is less than subtle. Though I expected it to be quite sweet and syrupy it wasn’t too sickly, but it was most definitely very ‘hoppy’. And though the first few sips went down well enough, I struggled to drink much more than half a pint.
Maybe I’m losing my touch, but think this is definitely an acquired taste. Amazingly, it’s not the strongest beer in St Austell’s line up either. That dubious accolade goes to the Smugglers Gran Cru at 11.5 per cent, though this is much more oaky and toffee flavoured and perhaps more to my taste. I definitely think I’ll be confining myself to the brewery’s ‘smaller jobs’ from now on such as the very nice and malty Tribute Ale. You can check out all of the St Austell Brewery’s beers and ciders on their website at www.staustellbreweryshop.co.uk.