Posts Tagged With: American Stout

Kane Port Omna American Stout

Beer:  Port Omna American Stout
Brewery: Kane Brewing Company
Style: American Extra Stout (a Dry Irish and Foreign Extra hybrid)
ABV: 6.00%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: The Old Bay, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, near black/dark cola in color, with some amber edging.  1-inch thick, creamy, mocha head.  Nice lacing of tiny, fizzy bubbles.

Scent: Coffee and chocolate; sweet malts; and dried fruit, perhaps figs or apricots.

Flavor:  There is a bitter hoppiness alongside notes of sweet coffee and chocolate, even some slight vanilla; but it is the bitterness that lingers in the aftertaste.

Feel:  Crisp, but smooth.  Moderate carbonation.  A bit of a dry finish.

Concluding remarksKane is one of New Jersey’s newest breweries, hailing from Ocean Township.  With their Port Omna Stout, they’ve created their own style: the American Extra Stout, a hybrid of a Dry Irish Stout and a Foreign Extra Stout.  The result?  A solid, well-balanced brew–bitter but sweet, slightly roasty but with a bit of fruit notes.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout

Beer:  Speedway Stout
Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Company
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 12.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: NJ
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Pitch, impenetrable black. 1/2-inch frothy, soapy, dark mocha head that quickly recedes to a centimeter head filled with bubbles small and large. Very thick lacing.

Scent: Smells like diving into a barrel of fresh coffee beans. It also smells like the beginning of fall, between the scent of fresh chipped wood and fallen wet leaves. Turns into a heavy cream scent at the end, like a big mocha cream drink.

Flavor:  Coffee, coffee, coffee. Very fresh coffee. Surprisingly little bitterness. Subtle sweet milk chocolate taste. And, um, I cannot taste the high ABV tag (a whopping 12%).

Feel:  Medium, creamy mouthfeel with low-to-medium carbonation.

Concluding remarks: This is perfect. This San Diego monster has had notoriously nonexistent distribution in this region.  (A friend used to occasionally bring me some from–New Hampshire? But it wasn’t available in NY? What the what?) Either way, suffice it to say, I was completely floored when I saw the Speedway Stout and the Horny Devil at my local Whole Foods (97th & Columbus, if you want to find a bottle). This was the most expensive beer I picked up this month (@ $14); but quickly felt justified, as I saw bottles of it being sold for $25-30 at local bars.

AleSmith’s Speedway Stout is brewed with “pound and pounds” of coffee beans from local coffee company Ryan’s Bros., and its caffeine content helps mitigate the sleepy I’ve-had-too-much-beer state that a 12% beer would normally put one in. What else can I say other than this is the best Stout I have had all month–it’s complex, balanced, sweet, bitter, caffeinated, alcoholic, has great mouthfeel…all in all, perfect!

Oh, and if you can find the barrel-aged Speedway Stout (best of luck to you), it was apparently rated the world’s best beer by Ratebeer.com. Seems like it would be pretty good.

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Green Flash Double Stout

Beer:  Double Stout Black Ale
Brewery: Green Flash Brewing Co.
Style: American Double Stout
ABV: 8.8%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: A George St. Co-op potluck
Primary Consumer: Ally
Consumption Companion: Matt, a fellow Co-oper

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, pitch black.  1 finger of chestnut-colored head that settles to a creamy 1/2-finger head with nice lacing.

Scent: Roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee.  For those of you that use Guinness as your Stout standard, Matt considered the aroma to be “Guinness-like.”

Flavor:  The taste follows up the aroma well–there is a nice blend of malts, chocolate, and coffee–and these are joined by a note of spice, with a lingering hop bitterness.

Feel:  Thick, creamy, and smooth, with moderate carbonation.

Concluding remarks: San Diego-based brewery Green Flash puts out a solid Double Stout.  It’s bold, but not overpowering.  The hop notes are the most prominent, but they’re balanced by a little bit of sweet coffee and chocolate, with a hint of spice thrown in–making for a complex and enjoyable quaff. Don’t drink it too cold; the flavors became more balanced as the beer rested.

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Rogue Shakespeare Stout

Beer:  Shakespeare Stout
Brewery: Rogue
Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 6.1%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Tiemann Place
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Black body with a light tan head that fades instantly to a trace of tan bubbles that float at the top of the beer.

Scent: The first waft was wood polish. I can sort of tease out a malt scent, but, that floor cleaner has tainted my nasal passages. As I keep smelling, I do get an earthiness that I haven’t smelled in other Stouts. The polish scent thankfully fades after a few minutes and is replaced with a bowl of oatmeal. 

Flavor: Predominantly a crisp oat-y, earthy taste. Sharply bitter.

Feel: Thin with full carbonation.

Concluding remarks: The bottle claims it is a World Stout Champion–and what does that mean, exactly? Well….I don’t know. I’ll be honest, this is my first Oatmeal Stout. Though an  avid beer drinker, I have a weak grasp as to what an Oatmeal Stout should taste like. Since this is an award-winner, I’d like to think that I am drinking a winner. But, ack, my palette is not accustomed to this new flavor profile.

All in all, it’s a big beer in terms of flavor; at the very least, you’ll be challenged by this guy.

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Keegan Ales Mother’s Milk

Beer: Mother’s Milk
Brewery: Keegan Ales
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 6.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint Glass
Drinking Establishment: Toast Uptown
Primary Consumer: Ally & Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, pitch black, with a substantial, dense tan head of 1/2 an inch when poured.

Scent: Creamy, milky caramel, like a Goetze Cow Tale or dulce de leche ice cream.  Also a hint of banana, but in banana cream pie form. (Desserts on the mind, much?)

Flavor: There is an undercurrent of espresso–a slight bitterness that is almost hoppy.  But this bitterness is cut by sweet creaminess, specifically like heavy cream (as opposed to regular ol’ milk).

Feel: Creamy and on the thicker side.  Low carbonation.

The Mother’s Milk Stout from Kingston, NY brewery Keegan Ales is solid. The brew is creamy and sweet, but thanks to a little bit of bitterness, it’s not as cloying as a Milk–or Sweet–Stout has the potential to be (just like homemade whipped cream–it isn’t like the overly sugared ready-made versions you’d buy at the supermarket).  It’s not the best of the Milk Stouts tried, but it’s still quite enjoyable.

Concluding remarks: For those who aren’t into super sweet beers, and still want to venture into the Milk Stout realm, this is the the one for you.

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Left Hand Milk Stout

Beer: Milk Stout
Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Co.
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 6.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint Glass
Drinking Establishment: Tiemann Place
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Near black body. I know I keep using the same description, but yeah…cola body with nonexistent head, save a beige rim of froth filled with carbonation bubbles. Lacing exists, but fades quickly.

Scent:  Big sweet malt, mocha, and cream aroma. 

Flavor: Robust roasted malt taste. It reminds me of some of the milder Porters I had in January, actually. Slight sweet milk flavor in there, too. 

Feel: Thin-to-medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation.

Concluding remarks: I’m going to give it to you straight: this tastes like a solid American Stout, with just a little extra sweetness. It has the slight charred taste of a Stout, but this beer isn’t bringing me to a place that reminds me of milk, a milkshake, an egg cream, a float, etc. etc. etc. other milk products. But, you know, for under $2 a bottle, I’m not complaining. This brew has a nice sweet toasty taste. If it had to embody a food product, it would be the wondrous Milk Toast dessert:

BREAKING NEWS: Left Hand has apparently repackaged its Milk Stout in Nitro bottles! (Think Guinness cans.) Read a review here. Definitely keep a lookout for this one. Left Hand says the Nitro should hit NYC on March 22.

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Southern Tier 2X Stout

Beer:  2X Stout
Brewery: Southern Tier
Style: (Double) Milk Stout
ABV: 7.4%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque cola body with a nonexistent head.

Scent: Mooooove over malts, this smells entirely of milk. Also, kind of like cream soda, with a big citrusy hop note at the end. 

Flavor: Not as creamy and milky as expected. Instead, there’s a powerful burnt malt presence which manifests into a coffee, then chocolate flavor. However, at the very end, it tastes like downing a cold glass of milk.

Feel: Medium, smooth body with a nice bit of carbonation. Maybe a little too carbonated given the style, but pretty great nonetheless!

What could have been a very sweet beer turns out to be a wonderfully balanced gem of a beer that coats your mouth with satisfying lactosugars. However, the alcohol content is a little low given the fact that this tastes kind of “hot” (i.e., my cheeks turned bright pink after half of this beer from the alcohol presence). The flavor profile is one of the more complex that I’ve experienced so far. It goes through a number of stages: stage 1, cream; stage 2, roasted wood; stage 3, citrusy hops; stage 4, charred malt/acidic coffee; stage 5, a return to wood. But, at the end is a milky goodness that eventually gives way to more hops. In less words, Southern Tier’s 2X Double Milk Stout is trying to do too many things at once, but ends up being pretty alright.

Concluding remarks: All in all it is a fine, complex beer. But, if you’re looking for the comfort of a sweet, balanced Milk Stout, this ain’t it. Nevertheless, it’s solid and enjoyable.

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Saranac Stout

Beer: Stout
Brewery: Saranac
Style: American Stout
ABV: 5.4%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint Glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s kitchen
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark cola body. Full, thick foamy head filled with carbonation bubbles big and small. The head leaves a thick lacing on the glass.

Scent: There’s not much in here other than generic roasted malt smell. A little bit of toffee is noticeable after the beer sits for a few minutes. 

Flavor: Overly bitter and burnt, with no other flavors to balance these antagonistic flavors. 

Feel: The body is too thin and feels like watery, carbonated milk.

Concluding remarks: This is a toss away beer. I knew that going into it the review. Saranac has always been a purchase of frugality (this cost $1.25). There is nothing to note on the taste of this beer, other than it tastes like it hasn’t been brewed to completion. Whereas every other Stout I have tried has had a surreal balance of bitter and sweet; this guy is all bitter. I would absolutely never buy this again, and I certainly don’t recommend anyone else do so either. If someone hands you one at a bar, sure, it’s safe to drink. Unless you have some illness where you are rendered ill from boredom.

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TYIB REVIEW OFF: Long Trail Coffee Stout

For the first time in The Year in Beer history, we have both purchased the SAME BEER, unbeknownst to one another at the time of purchase. How can this be, you ask? Well, sometimes when a girl really loves a style of beer (coffee stout) and loves even more to save money (big bottle < $5), some beers become an undeniable must-purchase. Apparently, Long Trail’s Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout is that beer for us. SO, instead of having to decide who would do the reviewing and who would just sit back and enjoy, we decided that we would both review the brew and see what happens when we don’t try to form a consensus. The following is our first ever REVIEW OFF!

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REVIEW OFF: THE BEER

Beer:  Coffee Stout
Brewery: Long Trail
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.0%

REVIEW OFF: CONTESTANT 1, ALLY

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Ally’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, dark, near-black brown.  Thin mocha-colored head that recedes rather quickly.

Scent: Roasty, slightly acidic mocha, with hints of vanilla.

Flavor:  Tastes like weakly brewed vanilla-flavored coffee.  A bit of a bitter endnote.

Feel:  Low-to-moderate carbonation.  Smooth but thin.

Long Trail’s Coffee Stout is part of the Vermont brewery’s Brewmaster Series (their gourmet specialty line which includes a Double IPA, an Imperial Porter, and a Centennial Red as well).  In general, Long Trail brews are decent–not fantastic, but better (much better) than a Bud.  And this Coffee Stout, despite it being “gourmet,” still falls into that category.  You definitely get the coffee flavor–no false advertising there–but the thin mouthfeel detracts from the overall enjoyment factor.  Be sure to drink it at the right temperature, a recommended 45-50°F, to get the most bang for your buck in the flavor department.

One neat tidbit of info: Long Trail uses 100% certified fair trade, organic dark roast from the Vermont Coffee Company, roasted specially for Long Trail.  Cheers to thinking globally and acting locally, Long Trail!

Concluding remarks: Good for its flavor profile, but it left me unimpressed.

REVIEW OFF: CONTESTANT 2, KERENSA

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Drinking Establishment: Tiemann Place
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Thick-looking dark reddish brown body with nonexistent head; a rim of small tan carbonation bubbles linger at the side of the glass.

Scent: Rightfully so, the predominant smell of this Coffee Stout is burnt, stale coffee. As it sits, it begins to develop a slight vanilla and milk scent. Oddly, the last note is pretzel.

Flavor: Oh, this tastes just like stale coffee. As a graduate student writing a thesis, stale coffee comes with the territory. Thus, I am an expert in this field. Seriously, I’ll wake up, realize I left a cup of reheated coffee in the microwave from the night before, and then reheat it again and drink it as breakfast. Yup, this tastes just like some of those cups of coffee, except with a slight astringent flavor. The alcohol is well-balanced, but that’s only because the taste of strong, stale coffee can pretty much overpower any taste aside from garlic, maybe. At the end there’s a very slight sweetness, but now it just tastes like stale coffee with stale sugar. And final note is very bitter, like chewing coffee grounds.

Feel: Eh, its fine. Maybe a little thin, but fine.

Concluding remarks: I was hoping that this review-off was going to be a little more contested, a little more dramatic, i.e., WHAT THE HECK, ALLY, HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY SAY THAT THIS BEER HAS THE AROMA OF A MILK CHOCOLATE BAR WHEN CLEARLY IT’S WHITE CHOCOLATE, UGH!!! But after finishing Long Trail’s Coffee Stout, I agree with most things that Ally said, from the kudos to Long Trail for using local coffee to the pint glasses awarded. I don’t get the vanilla taste as much as she does; for me, this is really about the bitter coffee. It’s okay, but I know there are better Coffee Stouts out there.

So as not to completely rag on Long Trail, the Double IPA in the Brewmaster Series is top-notch. So if you’re faced with the choice of the Coffee Stout, Double IPA, Imperial Porter, or Centennial Red, always go for the Double IPA!

Categories: Stout | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout

Beer:  Serpent’s Stout
Brewery: Lost Abbey
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pint glass
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Pours a near black body. (It actually look very similar to our rating pint glasses!) The head at first pour is high, frothy, and a sumptuous dark tan.

Scent: A trifecta of toffee, chocolate, and vanilla. (These smells will be a theme this month.) Slight earthy wood–maybe a mahogany, but not oak, which is commonly found in beers that have been oak-aged–at the end.

Flavor: Initially like…a dry forest. (Definitely not a wet forest, in case you were wondering.) Just like a well-structured play, this beer goes through the dramatic arc in five parts. There’s the upfront taste of wood (in a good way, I swear), then coffee, then chocolate, then really bitter chocolate, and lastly an underlying current of sweet toffee and alcohol that balances the beer. There’s also just a spritz of freshly squeezed lemon somewhere in there.

Feel: Creamy body. Carbonation is initially high, but fades as it sits.

Well, it’s the hardest-to-open bottle in history; but that is one of the only reasons this beer got a 4-and-a-half Pint Glass rating instead of a perfect 5. Lost Abbey, a California brewery that is not widely distributed in the Northeast, has put forward a truly exceptional Imperial Stout. This might sound unappealing, but it has a lichen moss taste. It’s quite earthy and has a unique balance of the bitter and sweet. It is ridiculously complex and rich, and feels a lot stronger than 11%, but tastes a lot less than 11%. Also, this guy was bottled just two months ago. I imagine the Serpent only gets better with age.

Concluding remarksIf you can find the tempting Serpent’s Stout, you must give it a try. However, share this 750ml with a friend. It has a lingering bite…

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