Posts Tagged With: Imperial Stout

Samuel Adams Merry Mischief

Beer: Merry Mischief
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Style: Sweet/Milk Stout
ABV: 9.0%

samginger

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

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Sight: Black as a rural night’s sky during the new moon. There’s a dense tan head that looks particularly scrumptious.

Smell: It smells a bit like rubbing alcohol at first, but it mellows out to a more appealing aroma, with notes of coffee, smoke, pumpernickel, and wet bark.

Flavor: The standard flavors you would expect from a stout are elevated with a slew of holiday spices, notably ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. There are some sweet cherry and plum flavors, too.

Feel: Dry, medium body with medium carbonation. It’s just a little burn-y from the high ABV.

Concluding Remark:  When I saw that Sam Adams’ seasonal release, Merry Mischief, was a GINGERBREAD Stout, I had my reservations. I was expecting something akin to Starbucks’ every growing line of holiday drinks: too sweet and too much artificial flavor. However, Sam Adams has kind of blown me away. They have created an (Imperial) Sweet/Milk Stout that is dense with both flavor and alcohol. Merry Mischief has a solid stout backbone and is amped up with a injection of holiday goodness. It tastes like a gingersnap cookie, with less sugar and more malts.

Overall, Merry Mischief makes for a pretty great holiday stout. At $9, it’s a little pricey for a Sam Adams–I might pick up a Belgian Christmas Ale instead–but it’s widely available and different than most beers you’ll be drinking this season. I say, go ahead. It’s not an excellent stout, but it’s a fine holiday beer.

funny elf

This is a Keebler Elf-approved beer.

Categories: Holiday, Stout | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

XBeeriment Black Force One

Beer:  Black Force One
Brewery: XBeeriment
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.4%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware:
Snifter
Drinking Establishment:
The Blind Tiger, NYC
Primary Consumer(s):
Ally & Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Black, with some amber edging.  A thin tan head quickly recedes to bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Scent: Vanilla coffee, with an alcoholic or acetate note (like that of nail polish).

Flavor:  Initially, a semisweet chocolate or coffee taste, with notes of smoked roasted malts; but then the bitterness of the coffee emerges.  It’s like a dark chocolate-covered espresso bean.

Feel:  Thin and smooth, with low-to-moderate carbonation.

The defining characteristic of the Danish brew is its bitterness–any chocolate-like sweetness gets outshined–but it is pleasant overall.  Despite its high ABV and its slightly alcoholic aroma, you don’t taste the alcohol (you just feel it–woo!).  This is a rare find on tap–worthy of making a trip over to Denmark…or the Blind Tiger.

Concluding remarks: The XBeeriment Black Force One is a good representation of an Imperial Stout–but we couldn’t do more than one of the tiny glasses it came in, lest we find ourselves passed out in front of the Blind Tiger fireplace.

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Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout

Beer:  Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout
Brewery: Nøgne Ø
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.0%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s kitchen
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Pours a thin, oily, opaque dark brown body. The tiniest modicum of a dark mocha head emerges after it sits for a few seconds, but then quickly recedes. 

Scent: Initial smell is a straightforward sweet roasted malt scent. There is also an overpowering note of thick molasses. The undertones are candied fig and dark chocolate.  

Flavor: This, like some of the other beers I had earlier in the month, changes drastically from first sip to end note. The first flavor is not altogether pleasant; it’s sharp, bitter, and has a bite. However, the taste moves to a sweet, although bitter, fresh coffee flavor and ultimately tastes like pouring sugar into an espresso. At the end, the predominant flavor is dark chocolate with a bit of roasted malt bitterness and smoke.

Feel: Exceptionally thin, silky body with some carbonation.

Nøgne Ø hails from Grimstad, Norway. If you’re wondering what the Norwegian-t0-English translation of “Nøgne Ø” is, you’re in luck. The bottle tells us that Nøgne Ø  (“naked island”) was a term Henrik Ibsen used to describe the islands among the rough waters off Norway’s coast, which is where the brewery is located. While I am not sure I would survive on this naked island with only this Imperial Stout and an anthology of Ibsen, I could certainly pass a few days knocking back a few of these to pass time. However, after day 6,  I think I would  start collecting ingredients to brew my own beer. Oh, and maybe start thinking about trying to find food.

Concluding remarks: Overall, this is a solid beer and a fine example of a Russian Imperial Stout. However, do yourself a favor and go get the Founder’s Imperial Stout instead!

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GUEST POST: Arcadia Imperial Stout

Beer:  Imperial Stout
Brewery: Arcadia Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.5%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Spuyten Duyvil, NYC
Primary Consumer: George, Ally’s co-op co-worker
Guest Reviewer Qualifications: He is good at many things (building computers, discussing philosophy, being an economist), and having a fine palate for beer is one of them.

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark like you would expect from a Stout, but not overly so, with little-to-no head when served.

Scent: Like motor oil and pears.

Flavor: Tastes like a basic Stout but with little depth or aftertaste. This gives the beer an artificial taste, like it was made without all of the odds and ends that cause aftertastes. I distinctly remember standing by the bar, sipping the beer, attempting to discern subtleties, gracenotes, and so forth—and being unable to do so. It was a weird feeling, like taking one too many steps at the bottom of the stairs. I suppose you could say that the flavor here is about as standard a Stouty taste as possible.

Feel: Thick but not very carbonated, dense without fizz.

To add a personal note to this story, I should note that I purchased this beer from a very trendy bar and, having paid entirely too much for it, was set on dechipering its complexity. Yes, like a puzzle. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to figure out: there was one piece—it’s fairly bold, Stoutish punch. And once the sip had passed, the flavor faded into memory, leaving me feeling unfulfilled.

Concluding remarksDrinkable but not the best.

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THANK YOU, GEORGE! Sorry for dragging you out to Brooklyn to go to said trendy bar.  It was expensive, yes, but hey, now you’re famous!

We are always looking for interested and interesting beer consumers to review a brew we might not have seen or had time to review in the month. Let us know if you’d like to contribute something, in exchange for internet fame, a line on your resume, an unpaid internship, a free ride, a huge tax rebate, a happy ending, and everything else everyone else has promised you in life. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.  Email us at wunderassn@gmail.com!

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Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

Beer:  Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout
Brewery: Flying Dog
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.9%

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

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Flat black body with no head. Dark tan bubbles cluster around the rim of the glass.

Scent: It smells like…Sharpie markers? Which actually is a combination of alcohol and dark, dirty coffee grounds. Final note: Sharpie milkshake.

Flavor: This is one of the more…flavorful beers of the month. Why the ellipses? Well, because flavor doesn’t always equate to good. The initial taste is dirt, but not just soil–dirt and grime. It’s like the brewers dropped some coffee grounds on the, um, ground, scooped up the grounds and whatever else was on the ground, and put it into the kettle. Oh, this is strange. The taste of dirt doesn’t really go away. There are other flavors in there, though, like raisins and figs…but dirty raisins and figs. As it sits, it almost tastes like bittersweet ground Mexican chocolate with hot chilies. 

Feel: Thin-to-medium body with prickly carbonation.

Concluding remarks: Ralph Steadman’s scary-ass Kujo drawing is more exciting and frighteningly awesome than Flying Dog’s Kujo beer. However, it is inarguable that this beer has a bite, albeit not a killer one. If I could rename this style, I would call it an Imperial Dirt Spice Stout. Imperial in its ABV, Dirt and Spice in its flavor, Stout in its malty robustness. I would recommend trying it because it doesn’t taste like any Coffee Stout, nay Stout, I have had. Do I have to reiterate: Imperial Dirt Spice Stout?

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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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Rogue Double Chocolate Stout

Beer:  Double Chocolate Stout
Brewery: Rogue Brewery
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.0%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: 10 oz. snifter
Drinking Establishment: The Iron Monkey, Jersey City
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, pitch black.  Thin tan head that quickly recedes to a ring of creaminess around the edge of the glass, with some lacing.

Scent: Milk chocolate, with a slight note of alcohol.  Kind of like walking into the chocolate factory in Hershey, PA.

Flavor:  Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.  There is a slight roastiness, with perhaps a mild hop aftertaste–or more like the bitterness of semi-sweet chocolate.

Feel:  Smooth, medium body.  Low carbonation.

Oh my god.  If chocolate milk and beer had a love-child, this would be it.  The Rogue Double Chocolate Stout evolved from Rogue’s first rendition, the Chocolate Stout, and is flavored with imported Dutch bittersweet chocolate.  It won a gold medal at the 2010 World Beer Championships, and it was well earned.  The sweet aroma compliments the flavor well, but the mild bitterness prevents it from being too sweet.  The result?  The perfect beer for someone like me, with a sweet tooth the size of Russia.

Concluding remarks: A delectable, well-balanced brew that makes a great beer-instead-of-dessert kind of drink.

Categories: Stout | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Beer:  Black Chocolate Stout
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.00%

Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Wine glass
Drinking Establishment: Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NYC
Primary Consumer(s): Ally & Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, near black in color; or, more appropriately, dark chocolate.  1 1/2-inch dense but frothy head, mocha in color.

Scent: Like a dark chocolate-covered cherry!

Flavor:  Bittersweet initially, but the bitterness melts away as it rests.  The chocolate is definitely more of a semi-sweet or Baker’s chocolate.  There are also notes of coffee, even chicory.

Feel:  Creamy and thick.  Low-to-moderate carbonation, with a tickle at the end.

Concluding remarksThe Black Chocolate Stout, one of Brooklyn Brewery’s winter seasonals, is dubbed “famous” and “award-winning” by the brewery…and we can see why.  This tasty beer gets an award of 4-and-a-half Pint Glasses from us; although, if it tasted as good as it smelled, it’d probably earn a full 5.

It should be noted, also, that we went back for seconds. And that’s saying a lot, considering we were at a beer bar with a number of rare Belgians on tap that night.

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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

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Beer:  World Wide Stout
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 15.0-20.0%

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

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Opaque, dark, black, with a barely-noticeable amber glimmer.  Three fingers of thick mocha-colored head that settles to a dusting of foam that lingers on the glass.

Scent: Deep and roasted, like hickory, or maybe even tangy BBQ sauce.  Slightly reminiscent of nail polish remover, but not in a bad way, if that’s possible.

Flavor:  Deep and roasted, like it smells.  A hint of smokiness, with a very mild sweetness as it rests.  And whoa, can you can taste the alcohol!

Feel:  Smooth, full mouthfeel.  Low carbonation.  Just like you can taste it, you can feel the alcohol–it tingles the tongue and warms the esophagus.

When Dogfish Head first introduced its World Wide Stout at the tail-end of 1999, it claimed the title of “most potent beer on the planet.”  This is not the case anymore, but this brew still packs a punch; if drunk were a flavor, this beer would be it.  According to its label, it is “a very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley,” and the result is a roasty, full libation.  I feel, however, that there is a more nuanced and complex beer hiding behind the booziness**; it’s like buying a cheap painting from a garage sale, only to find that the Mona Lisa is hidden underneath.  I can see it complimenting a dessert very well–it would balance nicely with something sweet.

**According to Dogfish Head, the World Wide Stout is a beer that ages well.  Although I couldn’t wait long enough to verify this, they say that the “heat” of the beer fades and notes of port and more roastiness shine through–perhaps making it the Mona Lisa of beer?

Concluding remarks: There’s a reason why the DFH website says to “share this one with someone you love”–it’s not for the faint of heart.  But if you like your beer like you like your coffee and men (dark and strong, right?), drink up and find a designated driver–perhaps a dark, strong man who will make you coffee in the morning.

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