A spicy Russian from California?! Delicious...

As a treat tonight, my buddy Damon and I took a trip down to the local Whole Foods Bowery.  For anyone living in NYC, this is the place to get beer- they’ve got an attached “beer room” that hosts over 1,000 unique craft brews.

That being said, Damon whipped up a wicked good dinner of spicy chicken fajitas for us to sweat over while tasting Nectar Ales‘ Black Xantus Imperial Stout.  We were lucky to get ahold of this one- only 500 cases were produced.  Infused with organic fair trade coffee from local (Paso Robles, California) Jobella Coffee Roasters, this brew boasts anywhere from 11-13% ABV and an IBU of 50.

Russian Imperial Stout is known for its darkness and high alcohol content.  Black Xantus does not falter on either account.  It pours the color of black cherry and makes barely any foam.  Smelling strongly of caramel, Juniper/Oak and alcohol, the first sip I took completely surprised me.  The creamiest tasting stout I’ve had yet, there was barely any carbonation present in the Xantus, and it tastes more viscous than it looks, sitting nicely on the tongue in order to give the proper time for tasting.

The vanilla hits first, strong and true.  Imagine what your French Vanilla Coolata tastes like once it has all melted… now imagine someone poured bourbon on top of that.  The best part of this brew is the spicy kick that occurs just as you are about to swallow the sip.  It adds that something extra that enhances the experience all that much more and makes it memorable.

All in all, this is a classy brew with a fierceness behind it that is worth the hour long trip I took to find Black Xantus.  If you’re a fan of stouts (or darker brews in general) and/or a sweet/spicy foodie, pick a Black Xantus up today, before they’re all gone!

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