I first encountered Payback Porter earlier this summer at Taste of Dublin, when the heavens opened and anyone with an ounce of sense left, while anyone with slightly more than that huddled in to the L. Mulligan. Grocer stand where all the good beer was. I only had a tiny taste but really liked it, so went out and bought a bottle to myself. Which I then forgot about until last week.
It's a bit of a beast, at 7.5% ABV in a 650ml bottle. It's probably better shared between two, in delicate stemmed glassware, but I wasn't in that sort of mood. Cue dirty great pint mug.
Nevertheless, it's very much a sipper: a silky creamy texture with big, hot, boozy flavours at the foundation, carrying with them mild notes of sherry and Irish coffee. On top there's a lovely portery roastiness, and the icing on the cake is a subtle, lingering lusciousness from tangy US hops.
A symphony in beer, and one of the best strong dark ones around here at the moment. As we sail into winter this is well worth having on standby in the cellar.