XT 9 (500ml, 5.5% ABV)
Sounding more like a Star Wars droid than a beer, XT 9 is something of an enigma. The bottle describes it as ‘Black’. So, is it a stout, a porter, a strong mild, a black IPA, or none of the above?
Brewed with no fewer than nine malts (I wonder if I can even name nine malts) and four different hops, this is a pretty complex recipe.
The aroma seems to back this up, smelling, as it does, of things as diverse as dark chocolate, treacle, grapefruit and pine.
Rather than being truly black, it’s a very dark red when held up to the light.
The initial taste is of coffee, rich chocolate and molasses, then it gives way to a tingling bitterness and some fruity qualities. The taste builds over time, giving you a chance to sample just how many ingredients are partying in the glass.
With so little information on the bottle, this is a beer you just have to dive in and try. Could it be that XT are championing the quality of their product over the marketing? Are they in a fight to the death with AndUnion for the title of ‘most minimalistic brewer’? And in the final estimation, what sort of beer is this? All of these questions remain unanswered.
So, in terms of style it’s a ‘none of the above’ for me. It may be difficult to categorise but one thing is for certain: it’s a very satisfying brew.
Written by Richard Salsbury