Vocation Brewery, UK, Dark Mystic - £5.25, 10.8 per cent

HAVING opened up in 2015, the team behind Vocation Brewery have managed to balance the demands of quality and imagination with the need to expand in exemplary style. Not only has quality remained fantastic across their core ranges, but Vocation’s special brews have continually impressed.

This week’s beer is another of these cracking limited-run brews, with Dark Mystic packing a fair punch. This 10.8 per cent imperial stout is oak aged with cherries and raspberries for added depth and jammy-sweet aromatics.

Pouring pitch dark, with a dense ring of mocha foam, the aroma of Dark Mystic is thick with lashings of dark chocolate, raspberry coulis, and buttery, nutty brandy snaps. A whiff of vanilla and spun sugar mixes with chocolate sauce to round out this sweet and fruity stout, contrasted by a touch of wheat bran.

Full bodied and oily on the palate, carbonation is low and even for a thick, luscious mouthfeel. Dark Mystic offers a thick, syrupy mix of toasted coconut, kirsch, and raspberry jam to open. This is followed by a heavy dusting of cocoa powder, bitter and sharp, and a heavy helping of roasted coffee and dried figs.

Sweet and fruity, the finish blends chocolate dessert sauce and freeze dried raspberries with crunchy nut cereal for a satisfyingly full and bitter finish. Dark Mystic is a fantastic imperial stout, showing Vocation Brewery at their best.

Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, York