Gorlovka – The Ukrainian Connection

The last, sixth, review of bottled beer from Acorn Brewery.
At the end I left myself the strongest liquor: Gorlovka Imperial Stout.


Today’s post I finish a series of reviews of bottled beers from Acorn Brewery, located in Wombwell, Barnsley.

This does not mean, of course, that the beers from this brewery will no longer be on the blog – on the contrary.
Acorn is extremely active and still puts out newly brewed beers, which are available as cask-ales in many pubs, for example in Old No.7, which are owned and which I quite often visit.

Today, the strongest ale from a regular offer of brewery – Gorlovka Imperial Stout.
In a previous post I tasted their great porter – Old Moor Porter and at the same time I posted a few words about the origin of this style.


As for the style known as stout, it is closely related to the porter.
Stout’ – this term has come to be applied to porters with higher concentrations of extract and a higher alcohol content. About such porters was said stout porters.
Admittedly, for the first time the word ‘stout’, in relation to beers, appears in the manuscript from 1677, and then ‘stout’ as ‘strong’ was used in relation to different types of beer (you can find the term ‘stout pale ale’), However later, this term was to be associated only with porters and has become synonymous of dark beer.

It is not known when exactly stout arose as a separate style.
Some believe that this happened about 1820, when brown malt, used for the production of porter, was replaced by a pale mixed with black malt for colour, or roasted unmalted barley. Following in the wake of a change of taste profile with higher concentration of the extract gave rise to a new style.
However, it should be added that many breweries in the nineteenth century to describe their products used interchangeably terms ‘strong porter’ and ‘stout’.

Even now, the criterion of “strength” of beer is not reflected in the name of style.
A lot of today produced and award-winning beers called ‘stouts’ contains less alcohol than porters.


Today stout is a popular style among others thanks to the Guinness brewery, which with variety dry stout gains almost the entire globe.
There is no place for a more detailed description varieties of stouts (this is a topic for a separate post), but although I mention only the best known: foreign extra stout, chocolate stout, coffee stout, milk stout, oatmeal stout.

One of the most popular and valuable varieties of stout is currently Imperial Stout, also known as Russian Imperial Stout (RIS).

This variety was brewed in England since the eighteenth century as export beer to Russia and the Baltic countries. Favourite beer of Empress Catherine, was also served in the military hospitals for strengthening the wounded.
It is the strongest version of stout – contains 9-10% alcohol, which allowed to extend the shelf life of beer and let it stay fresh during a long journey. It was also strongly hopped and these two features characterize the contemporary brewed RIS.


And so, somewhat a roundabout way, we came to our today Gorlovka.
Beer in the subtitle is named Imperial Stout. The alcohol content is 6,0% ABV – perhaps it is not too much as for RIS, but the level of alcohol is only one of the criteria of this style.
It must be remembered that such beer should be well-hopped, full-bodied, and in aroma and flavour should dominate the elements of roasted malt, caramel, chocolate, coffee, fruits.
Is that in fact I will see in a moment. I just explain yet from where is the name for this stout.


Well, Gorlovka is a city in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk region, and is a twin city for Barnsley.
Both cities, Gorlovka and Barnsley are known from the presence of coal mines, they are industrial cities. Though it should be added that Gorlovka in recent years suffered from the war in Ukraine.


Returning to our stout, to brewing Gorlovka are used Maris Otter malt and caramel Crystal plus roasted barley.
It is hopped with only single variety of hops – UK Challenger.
Gorlovka has won, among others, Finalist titles in CAMRA competitions: Winter Beer of Britain – 2007 and 2012 and Gold in 2010.

And at this point I think it’s high time to open a bottle and take a closer look to Gorlovka Imperial Stout.


Name: GORLOVKA IMPERIAL STOUT (Stout, alc. 6,0% ABV)
Brewery: Acorn Brewery (Wombwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England)

Expiration date: 10/2016 (bottle 50cl)

Gorlovka from Acorn Brewery
Gorlovka from Acorn Brewery - labels


test-look-small Beer is very dark, brown-cherry colour.
Foam is beige, medium height, fairly quickly falling to the layer on the surface.
test-sniff-small The aroma is dominated by roasted malt, caramel, chocolate,
current notes of dried fruits.
test-drink-small When it comes to flavour – first, caramel sweet feel in the mouth,
taste of chocolate, fruits (especially plums).
Then come the flavours of roasted malt, a pinch of bitter cocoa.
During consumption, we feel the presence of warming alcohol.
Then we get hit of bitterness, which has accompanied us to the very end.
Bitterness also builds finish – we have roasted malt combined with herbal bitterness and a hint of licorice.
Stout is bodied at medium high level.
Carbonation low.



Gorlovka it’s a good, bodied stout with a pleasant aroma and typical for this style set of flavour.
Caramel-chocolate sweetness, which determines the body of beer and soothes quite strong bitterness. Added to this are fruits, licorice and warming alcohol.
This stout is worthy of recommendation. One of the best that I drank here, in the UK.



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