"There's this one from Left Hand."
"It's a pepper porter."
Ken in DrinkStore knows which buttons to push when I'm browsing the shelves. So I walked off with a bottle of Fade to Black Volume 3: 7.2% ABV and brewed with rauchmalt and chillis. Right up my alley then.
What little head I could coax out of it didn't stick around long and the finished product is an unattractive murky black-brown. The aroma is all sticky bitter liquorice with just a hint of eye-watering spice behind it. Lots of body, but not too much, and little interference from the carbonation. The rich dry flavours of espresso and dark chocolate are to the fore, with the chilli only coming into play at the finish, more as piquant white pepper than fiery capsicum. And it stays in play after swallowing too, settling down below and gently radiating endorphins.
I'm well impressed by this. Subtle: no; balanced: maybe; but it's the sort of beer that reminds me of beer's myriad possibilities.