I think I've yet to encounter a Bateman's beer I didn't like. The darker ones like Victory and XXXB have this fantastic chewiness combined with a heady warming aroma that tickles my malt sensors right where they like it. To such esteemed company, I now add their ruby ale Dark Lord.
Well, they claim it's ruby. I had to hold it up to a lightbulb to see any trace of red. It's denser and darker than many a stout I've met, with a beautifully thick creamy head and only a gentle sparkle adding to this impression.
The nose is quite sour, suggesting the tang of yeast to me, even though it's not bottle conditioned. This is followed by a mostly sweet taste sensation: luxurious chocolate and smooth caramel, but there's a zingy bitter fruit thing going on, a spiced plumminess that reminds of nothing so much as Westmalle Dubbel or similar top-notch dark Belgian ale.
Getting all that into a sinkable 5% ABV package is no mean feat.