Having thoroughly enjoyed their Old-Style Porter recently, I expected big things of St. Peter's Cream Stout when I eventually tracked it down. I confess to being a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong: it's really really good stout, but I was anticipating something, well, creamy. This one is a very heavy dense stout, deep black in colour and with barely any gas. It is very sweet, with a caramel aroma and an overriding burnt toffee flavour. Yet, right at the end, there's that back-of-the-throat dryness of the sort you only get from quality stout. Next time I'm in the market for a half-litre of black beer which requires a mortgage, however, I think I'll stick with the Old-Style.
On the subject of English stout, I also recently acquired a bottle of Marston's Oyster Stout. The Oyster made by the Porterhouse in Dublin (from oysters) is one of my favourite stouts, so I felt it necessary to check out the competition. First of all, there is no indication on the bottle whether it is actually made with oysters or not. There is no list of ingredients, just warnings about the barley and malt. I had to go to the web site to find that it is, in fact, mollusc-free.
And that's not the only thing missing. Some of this could be down to an unfair comparison with the super-premium St. Peter's, but I found the Marston's almost devoid of any flavour. It's slightly dry; it's slightly bitter; but it's really not much of anything. "Marston's Don't Compromise", apparently. Compromising on this already watery number would indeed be a tough proposition.