The Kernel, Export Stout

The Kernel’s Export Stout is a dark, malty stout brewed to a 130 year old recipe from the Old Truman Brewery. It’s rich and satisfying without being overpowering, with a gorgeous caramel head and delicious chocolate aromas. Export Stout is vegan-friendly.

The sun sets today at just after 4pm. If we aren’t into stout season now, we never will be.

Lured down an alleyway lined with preloved furniture and empty kegs by the promise of freshly brewed peanut butter stout, I was heartbroken to find Old Street Brewing was fresh out. They did, however, have another stout on offer.

The Kernel Brewery is a fixture of the UK craft beer scene. No matter where you are in the country, it’s likely you’ve spotted their understated, brown paper labels plastered over simple brown bottles. Best known for their pale ale and their quaffable, 3% table beer, I’m picking up something that’s neither pale nor anywhere near 3%.

This Export Stout comes from a 130 year old recipe, dating back to the days of the Old Truman Brewery down the road on Brick Lane. At 7.5%, this is somewhat stronger than your average table beer. Perfect, I hope, for a rich, warming evening curled up listening to the rain outside.

Kernel Brewery Export Stout beer

The beer’s appearance is exceptional. An inky black body supports a rich, luscious caramel head that froths up like freshly cooked honeycomb.

The aroma is dark, malty and roasty. I pick up notes of cacao nibs first, then a burnt caramel sweet smokiness. Those dark, roasty flavours continue on the palate, joined now by liquorice. That high alcohol content comes through in a warm rum raisin sweetness.

The mouthfeel is oily, thick rather than syrupy. It’s intensely satisfying just holding the beer in the mouth and letting those flavours evolve. A smokey bitterness emerges on the finish: a mix of charcoal, leather and over roasted coffee. It’s satisfying, leaving the mouth dry, parched for a fresh sip.

If this is truly what Londoners were drinking all the way back in 1890, it’s a wonder they got anything done. It’s tasty without overpowering the palate with coffee and chocolate flavours, satisfying but still a touch moreish. It’s not the peanut butter stout I originally set out to find. But even so, I’m more than happy bringing a bottle of this home.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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