Despite Mash Gang being the AF beer brand I’ve reviewed the most often on this website, there are still many releases by the gang that I’ve failed to get my hands on and sample. Their recent batch of breakfast cereal and candy inspired beers have passed me by, mainly due to general lack of time on my part. But the one Mash Gang beer that has been on my radar for literally years has been Anxiety Saint. They originally teased this coffee stout back in November 2020, mere months after their actual inception. A previous duo of non-alcoholic stouts had been released earlier in very small batches, ‘6AM Load In’ and ‘Disco Load Out’, but I’d say it was nigh-on impossible for mere mortals such as myself to get their hands on them. The first look of the Anxiety Saint logo was on Instagram in November 2020, with a scheduled canning date of December 23rd. Despite more posts and enquiries by stout-thirsty non-alcoholics, all went quiet on the coffee stout front.
Then, in June 2021 the artwork was back on Instagram, slightly reworked, but bearing the words ‘Nitro Stout’. Yes, the gang had gone down the route of experimenting with nitrogenation – dissolving nitrogen gas into beer to give it that thick, creamy head you associate with certain Irish stouts. The fans were once again awoken from their slumber, with various tidbits of information being released, culminating in a post in August 2021 mentioning a canning date of 1st September, at a specialist site due to the nitrogenation process. Pre-orders sold out. Then came the unfortunate news – ‘Anxiety Saint is now subject to a full recall’. Apparently cans were underfilled, carbonation and nitrogenation levels were too low, and there were high levels of dissolved oxygen in the beer. Basically, it was flat and severely lacking. I suspect this hurt the gang on many levels, but they quickly bounced back and moved onto more successful brews.
The news that Anxiety Saint was actually being released took me by surprise. Over a year of zero mentions on social media, then suddenly a simple video of a test batch of stout, with the words ‘Anxiety and everything else’. From what I can gather, the brew follows a similar recipe to it’s first incarnation, but no doubt improved upon with Mash Gang’s years of AF knowledge. It’s a barley, wheat and oat base, with adjuncts of coffee beans and vanilla. Only one hop variety is used – HBC472. As well as being my inmate number, HBC472 a relation of the Sabro hop, and is meant to impart flavours and aromas of bourbon barrels, coconut, citrus, oak, and vanilla – sounds just right for a stout. Anyway, thankyou for attending my TED talk on the evolution of a nolo stout as witnessed over the medium of social media. Now let’s actually try the bastard.
The beer pours a very dark brown, almost black colour, and is completely opaque. A nice frothy caramel-coloured head is produced as it hits the glass, which sticks around for a good half of the drinking process. On the nose there is of course coffee up front, but this is relatively subdued, and lets a variety of other aromas loose on your olfactory system. There’s bags of Tahitian vanilla sweetness, almost caramel or toffee-like, along with roasted grains, and a fruity hint in the background akin to black cherry. On subsequent whiffs you can also get the sweet woody bourbon barrel notes, which could either be coming from the HBC472 hop, the oak staves the beer is aged on, or both.
On tasting the coffee is there straight away, but as in the aroma does not overpower. The vanilla sweetness builds up, adding a creamy taste, along with some fragrant coconut. Roasted grains give some smokiness and tempering bitterness, giving great balance to the beer. It’s got body, medium to heavy, probably the best yet from a Mash Gang beer, with gentle carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. The beer ends on a bittersweet finish.
Mash Gang Anxiety Saint is a beer I was doubting I’d get to review, but I’m so glad I did. Totally worth the wait, halfway through my first can it occurred to me that the tastes are very similar to a tiramisu, and I think that’s how I’ll describe it to others in the future. If you like your dessert stouts not too sweet but full of flavour, I can highly recommend this masterpiece of brewing. But I do need to look into how much caffeine is actually in each can of Saint, as I have virtually no memory of writing much of this review.
Buy Mash Gang Anxiety Saint
Whether or not Anxiety Saint becomes part of Mash Gang’s regular line-up I’m not sure, so my advice to save anxiety on your part would be to buy it while you can! Try direct from the brewer or via one of the options below:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the can)
|Additional nutritional information not given. Boo, hiss!
|Water, Malted Barley, Maltodextrin, Wheat, Oats, Hops, Yeast, Coffee Beans, Vanilla, Chilli, Potassium Sorbate, Fructose
|Country of Production
|Mash Gang – https://mashgang.beer/
Mash Gang Anxiety Saint Alcohol-Free Stout Review
Totally worth the 2 year wait! Thick, creamy, coffee and vanilla aromas aplenty.