The Kernel Brewery, UK, India Double Porter - £3.45, 7.8 per cent

THIS week’s brew is one of The Kernel’s India double porters; a rich, dark style hovering around the 7-8 per cent mark. It’s as close to a black IPA as is regularly available from this brewery, however it boasts a more robust body, and a less fragrantly crisp aroma than a dry, hoppy black IPA. It retains the heady hop charge, however, with this week’s batch showcasing Citra & Galaxy hops.

Pouring a thick chocolate-sauce mahogany, with a faint dusting of cocoa brown highlights, a densely packed head of butterscotch foam caps the glass. The aroma is laden with sacks of freshly ground coffee beans, dusted with cocoa and cinnamon. Despite being heavily hopped, the hop character is restrained in the aroma, letting nutty chocolate malts lead the way.

Full bodied and velvety on the palate, blanched peanuts and black chocolate lead the way, broken by a biting twist of salted liquorice. Dark chocolate and toasted coconut give way to burnt caramel and a bite of candied cherries drowned in Cointreau.

Bitter roasted malts and grassy, bitter herbs combine to create a lingering espresso and burnt toast finish that lingers on the palate.

A treatsome alternative to a stout, bringing in some black IPA character while remaining true to the base style, this is as good a beer as we know to expect from this veteran brewery.

As recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, York