Brulo Beer (formerly known as Coast Beer Co) seem to specialise in highly hopped pale ales and IPAs, full of flavours and aromas, which tend to veer into the sweeter end of the beer flavour spectrum. At time of writing we’ve reviewed four of their non-alcoholic beers here, all bursting with tropical fruits, fragrant pine and grassy bitterness. However, back in December 2021 a new addition to the Brulo line-up was announced, their Dry Hopped Stout. Their first foray into the stout/dark beer style, which tends to get it’s main flavours from heavily roasted grains rather than hop aromas, the brewer has nevertheless stuck to their fragrant guns and chucked in a bundle or two of tastebud and olfactory-whacking hops after fermenting this brew.
A traditional stout will use minimal amounts of hops, and usually a variety such as Goldings or Fuggles to impart some light sweetness or fragrance. Other varieties of the style, such as Imperial or Russian Stouts have been known to be heavier on the hop use, resulting in a more bitter brew. Brulo have used Columbus and Simcoe here, along with a blend of 6 different grains. Columbus serves up bitter lemon aromas, whilst Simcoe is a popular pale ale and IPA addition, imparting grapefruit citrus and herbal pine aromas. I’m certainly not used to any of these flavour profiles in a stout, but I’m open-minded, especially when it comes to alcohol-free beers. Let’s crack open this can and see what Brulo have in store for us.
Pouring the beer out from the can we get a cola coloured liquid which is pretty much opaque. A caramel-coloured head froths up, but sinks back within a minute. Inhaling, we get many aromas that are not usually associated with a stout – tropical passion fruit, mango and juicy lychee. There is some smoky roasted grain noticeable in there, along with a slight black coffee aroma, but the hoppy fruits overshadow everything else. It’s like the bouquet you’d expect from a decent bitter West Coast IPA.
On tasting we get slapped with huge pine bitterness, which then moves to a more smoky roasted grain flavour, imparting some dark chocolate and coffee notes. Sweetness comes in (as with the rest of the Brulo range) with light tropical fruit flavours doing their best to overcome the bitterness. The body is light to medium, probably the brewer’s fullest-bodied beer yet if I’m honest. We get a long smooth finish to the drink.
Brulo Dry Hopped Stout is in my opinion more of a black IPA than a stout, and if it were marketed as such I think I would have appreciated it more. But as it was labelled a stout my brain and taste buds were primed to accept a more traditional fare, and as a result I found the aromas of the beer to be confusing (though delicious), and I didn’t really get on with the taste if I’m honest. Maybe I’m not so open minded after all? I think if I were to treat Brulo Dry Hopped Stout as another one of the brewer’s IPAs I would have scored it better, so don’t think of it as a stout.
Buy Brulo Dry Hopped Stout
A few of Brulo’s beers are available on tap in certain bars, and a number of their cans are available in Morrisons supermarkets. You can buy Dry Hopped Stout direct from the brewer, or from other online stores:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)|
|Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast|
|Country of Production||Belgium|
|Brewer||Brulo Beer – https://www.brulobeer.com/|
Brulo Dry Hopped Alcohol-Free Stout Review
A confusing AF beer, I really wish they’d have dropped the ‘stout’ labelling as I my brain would appreciate this much more as an IPA. Worth a try though.