Big City Brewing Company Ltd. - Jamaica Stout

Big City Brewing Company Ltd. - Jamaica Stout

Beer Club featured in International Beer Club U.S. & International Variety Beer Club



Alcohol by Volume:


Big City Brewing Company Ltd. - Jamaica Stout

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    50-55° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass or Snifter
As a fan of better beer, you may know the history behind the birth of India Pale Ale (IPA), a style that evolved as a more highly hopped, higher alcohol by volume (ABV) Pale Ale that would survive the long sea voyage from England to the British colonies in India. So, what do England, India, and IPAs have to do with a review of a stout from Jamaica? Well, the evolution of IPA has some similarities with this beer’s stylistic subcategory: “tropical stout.” Stout is not a single, uniform style of beer. There are multiple substyles, with most folks being familiar with the version of Guinness you find at your local pub, an Irish Dry Stout (there are multiple versions of Guinness in fact, spanning nearly all the stout substyles). In order for stout to survive the long, warm journey to various tropical and other export locales, a bigger-bodied, roastier, higher ABV version evolved. Jamaica has held on to the tradition of brewing stout in this style, known as Foreign or Export Stout, with versions made for, or in, tropical locales known as Tropical Stouts. Tropical versions can be quite sweet without much roast character or drying bitterness, while export versions tend to be moderately dry (like a scaled-up version of Irish dry stout). Big City’s Jamaica Stout is a tropical stout; expect fruity esters, with prunes, raisins, and black cherries along with some coffee-like roastiness notes on the nose. The beer goes down with much of the same flavors as those hinted at in the aroma, with plenty of chocolate and coffee, flashes of black licorice, and dark rum with a nice warming sensation from the alcohol. We suggest enjoying as an aperitif, or pairing with chocolate rum cake.
You’ve probably heard of or even tried the Jamaican beer “Red Stripe.” This champagne-like brew is actually easy drinking and quite refreshing, with the flavor profile something you’d expect could do the trick as a Caribbean refresher. But, interestingly, many island nations, including those in the Caribbean, have a high incidence of bigger alcohol stouts in their range of available beers. Consider the tropical climate of Jamaica and you might wonder why someone would reach for a thick, hearty, high alcohol stout to quench their thirst. How is that refreshing? Well, perhaps it’s not the best beverage to grab when trying to rehydrate after a hot day’s work under the sun, but stronger brews are not uncommon in this part of the world, where many islanders have traditionally been rum drinkers. And, as it turns out, the maltier, sweeter flavors found in these tropical stouts make them more quenching than their dry stout counterparts from Europe and the U.S. Perhaps no where else is the beer myth that “darker means stronger” less myth than fact than in the Caribbean. It certainly holds true at The Big City Brewing Company in Kingston, Jamaica. We admire their founding principle: to produce a beer that consists only of local produce. In 1994 they set out with this goal in mind; and, by 1999, they graduated to the “big city leagues” by purchasing their full-scale brewery and equipment. Using state-of-the-art hardware from Germany, Italy and the U.S., along with a dedicated staff, they now have three successful, authentically Jamaican brands available. While foreign breweries have had a presence on the island for over 100 years, The Big City Brewing Company currently stands proud as the only brewery in Jamaica owned and operated by Jamaicans. For more information about the brewery, visit their website at
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