Posts tagged ‘Stout’

Mikkeller Study #1 – Does Barrel Type Make a Difference?

Mikkeller Black Hole Series

Mikkeller Black Hole, Wine-Barrel Aged Black Hole, Rum-Barrel Aged Black Hole, Bourbon-Barrel Aged Black Hole & Whiskey-Barrel Aged Black Hole

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is one interesting man.  One whom I affectionately call “The Nomad Brewer”, as he hops from brewery to brewery, contracting out space to make his own brews.  This young brewer is a revolutionary, in my mind, focusing on beer collections that study the various aspects of brewing that can affect the taste of beer.  Series so far include the single hop series which features the same base and uses one each of different hops so that the drinker can taste and compare the flavorings of each hop, and the following series which I am to review- the Black Hole Barrel-Aged Series. (Blogger’s Note: I understand that there is a new release happening of a Yeast Series- exciting!)

The Black Hole Barrel-Aged Series contains the same base brew- a stout brewed with coffee, vanilla and honey.  That base is available as is, Red Wine barrel-aged, Rum barrel-aged, Bourbon barrel-aged, and Whiskey barrel-aged (see picture above- they even had a cute color coding system on the labels and foil that wrapped the cork!)  The results, I think you’ll agree, are very interesting:

Black Hole Stout brewed with coffee, vanilla and honey:

On the nose, this brew has a deep alcohol aroma that is reminiscent of Sharpies mixed with polyurethane and wood stain.  Moreover, though, it has a glorious mixture of dark chocolate ice cream, damp earth, caramel flavored coffee, butterscotch and crumb cake to offer your sniffer as well.  The sip is glorious as well- in fact, the only word that kept coming to mind while drinking this confection was “glorious”.  Godiva liquer with an espresso bite dances on the tongue.  The mouth-feel on this brew is that of confectioner’s sugar mixed with carob powder- thick and damp but ashy and sweet.

Wine barrel-aged:

The wine barrels introduce raspberry fudge to the scent of this brew.  The vanilla cuts through more, hinting at strawberry malted.  The taste is brighter and creamier; less ashy and dirty.  The wine undertones are definitely present on the smell and taste, making the wine barrel-aged version tart versus the bitterness of the original.

Rum barrel-aged:

Immediately, rum barrages my nostrils.  Dark rum swirled with brown sugar and topped with chocolate ganache.  The honey is more pronounced on this version, as well as wood chips.  This is the most drinkable of all of the Black Holes, not as boozy on the mouth (or throat or tummy) with a bright fizz that meets the throat.  This brew is deliciously balanced, which adds to its scarily drinkable (at 13.1% ABV) persona.  The aroma definitely has more fire than the taste, which finishes off with a gingerbread, nutbread and spice cake feel.

Bourbon barrel-aged:

Peat, moss, rain, onion grass, sap, and vegetation all greet my nasal passages for the bourbon barrel-aged Black Hole.  Cacao is also thoroughly present.  While very similar to the taste of the base Black Hole, this brew has an even boozier flame, so that it’s rough going down in that classic bourbon way.  This is my least favorite of the bunch and makes me think of dirty chocolate.

Whiskey barrel-aged:

Surprisingly, the first thing I smell on this beer is Dentist’s office- fluoride, Ben-gay, soap and sanitizer.  The taste looses a lot of the chocolate flair that the base Black Hole brings to the plate, replacing it with very earthy flavors, such as grass, peat, seaweed, and ashy carbon.  The whiskey influence is clearly evident in this version.

Clearly, while each one of these brews started out as the Black Hole proper, the barrel aging had a deep effect on what their eventual taste and aroma would be.  I was quite surprised at just how different each of these brews were- but I’m not joking when I say that it was almost impossible to realize that they were from the same base, had Mikkeller not packaged them that way.  This was quite an eye opening experience for me, one I hope to bring with me in my eventual homebrewing escapades.

I hope that my fellow beer connoisseurs can have chances to partake in beer studies like the one that I have just completed.  The learning curve is fascinating.  But, for now, those of you who cannot partake in these brews will just have to take my word for it.

Cheers, frienditos!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


When Beer Collections Converge – or, I Think We Need a Bigger Fridge

Brews Number 1-8

Brews Number 1-8

What happens when two beer geeks try to converge delicious beer collections?  The need for a bigger fridge arises. What happens when that isn’t possible (say at 7PM on a Sunday evening)?  I get to drinkin’, THAT’s what happens!

So after a month of moving shenanigans, I sat down Sunday night with a gamut of 15 different brews at my disposal, waiting to be drunk for fear of a slow and painfully stinky death.

And so, faithful readers, we begin another journey of epic proportions through the realm of craft beer stylings available today.  I hope you can keep up with me…

1. Summer Weizen Ale / Smuttynose Brewing Co., New Hampshire, USA / Wheat Ale / 5.8%

With a clear pale gold pour and thick white head, this beer resembles more of a filtered wheat beer than a hefeweizen.  On the nose it is clearly herbal tea and grass, which makes sense since Smuttynose touts it as “brewed with chamomile”.  The taste is reminiscent of lime Runts or perhaps even a lime sorbet palate cleanser.  It is watery and refreshing but with a great bite and carbonated kick-a good outdoorsy beer for with a summer barbeque.

2. Woody Creek White Belgian Wit / Flying Dog Brewery, Maryland, USA / Belgian-style Wit / 4.8%

The aroma on this cloudy straw colored brew is that of the nature of Summer- the earthen smells of those hot , humid days; weedy, overgrown green smells merge together with sudden rainstorms and wet wood.  Orange and coriander are definitely prevalent in the Woody Creek brew.  Flying Dog offers a strong Belgian flavoring with clean wit texture in this brew.

3. Bitter Brewer / Surly Brewing Co, Minnesota, USA / English Bitter / 4.0%

While I’ve seen similar colors in other brews, I had never before thought to call the color of this brew Athletic Gold, but that’s exactly what it is.  Think classic sports teams with that deeper, yellowish, mustardy gold.  While the Flying Dog smelled of Summer proper, this brew gives off the essence of Christmas- the bitter orange aroma of clementines from my family members’ stockings and piny hops.  The taste also brought forth bittery clementine.

4. Red Trolley Ale / Karl Strauss Brewing Co, California, USA / American Amber Ale / 5.8%

Well, seeing as how I’m on a roll tonight with beer aroma, I’ll add this one to the mix.  This copper penny colored Ale smells of red wine and fresh rolls- the faint aroma of an Italian Restaurant.  On the same token, it tastes of a freshly baked sourdough roll with toffee pieces in it.  The sweet and bready flavoring of this brew makes it highly like-able in my world, but intense hop lovers should move on.

5. One / Dark Horse Brewing Co, Michigan, USA / Oatmeal Stout Ale / 8.0%

I have to say, I was uber excited to open up this brew.  I’d heard much about the Dark Horse stout series, and I’m a stout freak, so how can it get any better than that?  (Plus- I experienced Plead the Fifth just a day before, and, well, if I said how great it was here, I’d have to kill you.  That review will come another day…)  With a nose of malted milk balls and hot buttered toast, the “One” Oatmeal Stout tastes super buttery, just like the Oatmeal cookies my Dad makes with the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe (just insert instant oatmeal and voila!)

6. Too / Dark Horse Brewing Co, Michigan, USA / Cream Stout / 8.0%

Again, I was excited for this Dark Horse brew, however, the Cream Stout style of Ale had never really seemed to impressed me before.  I was SO wrong.  This bear of a beer smelled and tasted so delicious, I capped it up and saved the last 2/3 of the bottle so that I could drink it for enjoyment.  With a meaty and earthen aroma, the SUPER creamy texture felt like melty soft ice cream in my mouth.  I likened this brew to dark chocolate syrup on bacon flavored biscuits- if anyone knows of a place that makes such a thing, email me… now.

7. Scratch #27 (Cocaoabunga) / Troeg’s Brewing Co, Pennsylvania, USA / Milk Stout / 6.7%

This clear dark brown brew with a tiny, tan head smelled deeply of chocolate liquor, despite its meager 6.7% ABV rating.  So, the taste of this brew totally makes me have to admit something somewhat weird about myself.  It tastes just like Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate powder mix… let me explain.  I’m one of those people who likes to, once the mix is added to my hot chocolate, spoon the floating bubbles of undissolved chocolate powder up and eat it.  Gross, some people say, while others agree with me- that sh*t is delicious!  I swear- next time, try it, and tell me you don’t like it!  Or just drink Scratch 27, if you can get your hands on it.

8. Big Sound Scotch Ale / Cigar City Brewing Company, Florida, USA / Scotch Ale / 8.5%

Let me just start off by saying that Cigar City may just be my favorite brewery.  These guys have yet to fail me on a brew- everything that they offer is well thought out and really delicious.  Big Sound stays true to my word on this.  The beautiful cloudy cherry mohagony brew had one of the biggest noses of the night with a chewy toffee bread flair, similar to that of Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagel.  Monkey bread, a bready peel off cake dish smothered in toffee, caramel gooey-ness.  Cherry rock candy meets toffee cookie in this huge and complex brew.  Yum!

Brews Number 9-15

Brews Number 9-15

9. Old Brown Dog Ale / Smuttynose Brewing Co, New Hampshire, USA / 6.7%

Sad to say, this may have been my least favorite brew of the night.  The aroma leaves much to be desired, as there’s not much actually there.  The Ale is tart, yes, I’ll give Smuttynose that, but it’s barely tart and there’s nothing spectacular about it.  This may be because I had it right after that crazy complex Cigar City Scotch Ale, which is sad, but a beer should stand up for itself, no matter what you have before or after it.

10. Tripel Over Head / Mother Earth Brewing Co, North Carolina, USA / 9.0%

Props to Mother Earth Brewing Company for their sustainable brewing practices.  This Tripel is highly commendable- the odor is straight up Belgian and the taste just screams of clove (with a few bananas thrown in for good luck).  The only issue I had with this brew was the weird aftertaste that reminded me of dirty water.  For a smaller brewery with sustainable brewing, this output is a good, solid Belgian and a delicious intro to the style.

11. Bourbon Barrel Aged Triple Over Head / Mother Earth Brewing Co, North Carolina, USA / 9.0%

Clearly darker gold and with a thicker, fluffier head, this brew is completely different from is base brother.  The nose is that of spice and robust, “fancy” cheese.  On the tongue I get a mixture of cheese and malt- perhaps a mac and cheese made of monteray jack or a tiny quiche-like pastry made of phyllo dough, gouda, and topped with carmelized onions.  It is much better for my style than the base itself, however, that is purely a subjective matter.  Two very solid offering from Mother Earth- cheers, men!

12. Adam / Hair of the Dog Brewing Co, Oregon, USA / Hearty Old World Ale / 10.0%

All that comes to mind when I try to remember this brew is… leather, leather, leather.  Smoked leather, tanned hide, stained leather, you name it!  My first reaction when tasting this bad boy was, literally, “Yum!”  Burnt buttered toast meet pork meat.  It is deliciously complex but drinkable.  Smokey, but not ashy; salty, but not bready; etc; these are the pluses to Adam.

13.India Pale Ale / Avery Brewing Co, Colorado, USA / IPA / 6.3%

While malty at first, this brew gives way to bitter and citrusy hops.  It’s a good, solid, IPA but nothing to write home to mom about.  It’s classic and easy to drink, but there are better examples of the IPA style available out there today.

14. Double Trouble / Founder’s Brewing Co, Michigan, USA / Imperial IPA / 9.4%

Clear straw colored with a large, foamy head, this beer smelled of wet forest including damp wood and leaves.  Malty, sweet caramel meets bitter, earthen hops in this great example of an Imperial IPA.  Uber drinkable and delicious as well, this beer makes me love Founder’s even more.  (Blogger’s Note: on the same night, at the same time, characters from the HBO series “Hung” were drinking Founder’s Double Trouble as well… score one for craft beer!)

15. XS Imperial Red Ale / Rogue Brewery, Oregon, USA / Imperial Red Ale / 9.0%

This deep brown, foamy brew combines sweet, bitter, candied hops with a hint of chocolate.  It’s somewhat lacking and surprisingly one dimensional and flat for an offering from Rogue.  The Red Ale is definitely not my cup of tea, which was fine, since I had more of that Dark Horse “Too” to delve into to save my dying palate.

Cheers, my dears!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Homebrew Review #3 – Joe Postma’s Brews

Joe Postma

Smilin' Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

I have the pleasure of many beer friends who are also experimental home brewers, and among the most nerdy of them is Joe Postma.  Joe is Über passionate about beer and even carries around spectrophotometer with which to gauge the color of the beer he drinks.  It is adorable and heartening to see someone who cares so much about quality beer.

Joe was kind enough to pass along to me three of his recent homebrew creations: “Ababa”, originally brewed to mimic the Black IPA style; “Hot Chocolate”, a spicy chili stout; and “Tripel”, a Belgian Tripel.

Brewer Joe

Brewer Joe - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

“Ababa” was the first try of the night, and sadly, my least favorite of the bunch.  It featured a super dark, opaque pour and a yummy chalky dark chocolate aroma.  Throughout an evolving recipe, Joe grew this beer into something that was super hopped with Sorachi Ace hops.  The result was that of very bitter dirty earth.  Joe let me know that he was having some problems with carbonation on this brew, and it shows.  I think carbonation would make the brew much better by cutting some of the deep bitterness.  Overall, however, this brew is a commendable step on the right path toward Joe’s Black IPA goal, although the funky aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

Next,  I dove into “Hot Chocolate”, a Russian Imperial Stout made with ancho chilis and chocolate, inspired by Cigar City Brewing’s Hunahpu Stout.  This is my kind of beer, so I was SUPER excited to try it.  And, let me tell you, Joe does not dissapoint.  With a deep fudge and chocolate ganache icing aroma, like that of Entenmann’s Brownie Cake, this brew boasts a Mole-ish chocolate spice.  It reminds me of the Taza Aztec Guajillo Chili Chocolate that I once had from Whole Foods.  The brew has a nice semi-thickness to it that eases the sip, which burns nicely, not overwhelmingly- surprising for a 10.2% Chili stout!  “Hot Chocolate” was my favorite of the three and took the cake for the night.  Honestly, this beer could pass for professional grade and be sold on store shelves tomorrow.  Joe has taken obvious care with this brew and certainly reaped the rewards! Warning: This beer is not for the faint of spice…


Pour - Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

Last, but definitely not least, came the “Tripel”.  For this brew, Joe went with the “less is more” mentality, and kept the beer to a few simple ingredients- Pilsner Malt, Belgian Candy Sugar, Hallertau Hops and Belgian Abbey yeast.  It is clearly a Belgian through and through, what with the smelling of florals, coriander, clove, Spring rain and bananas.  Oddly enough, Joe described this beer as very dry, while I received it as a super wet brew.  The Tripel was very refreshing and soft tasting.  Joe made good use of his tiny bubbles on this one.  Bananas are super prevalent on the taste of this brew as well- making it a good strong Belgian ale.

Whew!  All this homebrew tasting and writing is making me thirsty!  What do you think Joe?….. Joe?…………

Nothing gets between a man and his beer

Nothing gets between a man and his beer! Courtesy of Sarah & Joe Postma

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

A Night of Simply Beer Part Deux: British Bitter and Black Cherry Stout

That’s right, Ladies and Germs- it is time for the next installation of Simply Beer homebrew! Peter Kennedy, craft beer enthusiast and homebrewer extroadinaire, was kind enough to send yet another Simply Beer care package to my work establishment (I am now the envy of all my co-workers).  This time he included two of his brews- the British Bitter and the Black Cherry Stout.

My night began with the British Bitter, which clocked in at a whopping 3.4% ABV.  The great thing about the low alcohol content is that this beer can accompany a lunch hour meal without the worry of getting drunk (the definition of a session beer, basically).  The brew poured a half cloudy, half clear golden amber color with no head.  On the nose were pear juice and green apple airheads- that tart/bitter/sweet combination.

The first thing I noticed about the sip of this beer was that it was very low on the carbonation- in fact, there was barely any of which to speak.  It was a very watery consistency, but held a punch of taste.  If I’m being honest (and that’s what I do,) this was not my favorite “PetahBeer!” (as I have affectionately called Peter’s Beer- ha!)  But, then again, I haven’t had much in the way of British Bitters, which doesn’t really seem to be my style.  To me, the brew tasted like dirty, watered down fruit punch- the type I had as a kid which was cheap and made me jealous of all the kids’ who had Minute Maid.

(Blogger’s Note: I tasted this beer with my favorite Brit, Lee Norman Williams of Hoptopia, and he kindly informed me of the fact that this brew was, in fact, a great example of a British Bitter; which, in turn, makes it a perfect example of what I love about beer.  There are so many different styles and flavors out there, and we don’t have to like them all!)



Next, and sadly, last, was the Simply Beer Black Cherry Stout.  I was really excited to get this beer, and it certainly did not disappoint!  The pour was one of the prettiest Auburn/Amber tinted blacks I have ever seen.  The head was super creamy and of the milk chocolate colored persuasion.  It smelled like the Wild Cherry Ludens I used to beg my mom for as a kid (I was a very sick child and begged for Wild Cherry Ludens for each of my monthly strep throats!)  Also on the nose was the aroma of Real Cherry Italian Ices.

The brew was refreshingly light and dry with an ashy finish.  Surprisingly enough, the beer tasted exactly like black cherries! (Blogger’s Note: heyuk, heyuk!) The brew also included a beautiful tiny fizz and a slightly hoppy overbite.  A very interesting observation that I made is that the quicker your sip was, the sweeter the taste of the brew was.  In other words, the longer you held the beer in your mouth, the more of the flavor profile you would get- including the bitter/sour hoppiness.

The Simply Beer Black Cherry Stout is yet another great installment in the line of Simply Beer homebrews that I have had the privilege of sampling.  The British Bitter, while not my style, stood up with the rest as well.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again- this Peter Kennedy fellow is going places.  Keep an eye out for the Simply Beer logo– one day you will see it on your local beer shelf!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

A Night of Simply Beer: Bourbon Stout, Funky Saison, Pumpkin Porter, Peanut Butter Porter

A Night with Simply Beer

I recently had the undoubtedly fortunate pleasure of receiving a Simply Beer Homebrew care package from fellow BrewYorker Peter Kennedy.  Peter is an avid beer junkie who has been trying his hand at homebrewing for about a decade- and his seasoned knowledge definitely shows.  His brews are not only delicious and different, but his painstaking attention to detail and love for beer shows in every last drop.  The kit included four of Simply Beer’s offerings: Bourbon Stout, Funky Saison, Pumpkin Porter and Peanut Butter Porter (I KNOW!)

Mmm... Bourbon-y...

The first brew I tried was the Bourbon Stout.  As you probably know, I’m a stout girl at heart, so I couldn’t wait to pop this one open.  The back story I received on this beer is that Peter (a stout lover himself,) decided that he wanted to try his hand at a low ABV stout that tasted like a big barrel aged imperial.  Hence, this session-style stout was born.  While an interesting concept (and something that could save me from an embarrassing night,) this turned out to be my least favorite brew of the bunch.  The aroma cries out of cheesy chive and sour cream- a twice baked potato.  The taste is fizzy and watery for a bourbon stout.  Dark and malty with a vegetative herbaceous base, the sip is sweet but the aftertaste leaves me a bit unhappy.  Overall, however, this bourbon stout is very complex and commendable for a homebrew.   With time and a little finagling, this concept could go places.

It's time to get Funky...

Next on the list is the muddy pouring Funky Saison.  This beer poured with a HUGE ecru foamy head which took almost all of the glass height.  The scent tickled my nose like natural soap made with lavender, sage and peach.  There was also something of strawberry or cherry starbursts on the nose.  This brew sips nice and light- bubbly and sweet and sour, although not super extreme on the sour end.  There is a refreshing quality to this drink that does not take away from its clear and present taste point.  Apples and pears mingle with clove and nutmeg to give it a spiced cider feel (sans cinnamon).  Although pulpy, the Funky Saison is a fine refreshing drink that packs a tasty punch.

A little sip of Autumn...

Upon taking a sniff of Peter’s Pumpkin Porter, I was immediately transported to October.  Literally, the beer smells like a night of New England trick or treating; crisp and chilly, musty and leave-y, and roast-y and toasty.  The taste is a mixture of pumpkin bread and baked apples with cinnamon.  Honestly, I don’t even need to say anything more about the Pumpkin Porter- what is better than a beer that smells like Halloween and tastes like Fall?

Giving Reese's a run for their money...

Last, but most certainly not least, came the Peanut Butter Porter.  At 11% ABV, this brew could quite possibly be the best beer I have yet come across.  Opaque midnight black with a tiny, milky chocolate head, the porter boasts some beautiful lacing which makes me excited for a fine nitrous-like reminding me of my grandma.  Sweet chocolate undertones compliment the strong peanut butter taste.  When I was growing up, my parents would marinate chicken in a sesame teriyaki sauce and grill it on the barbeque.  This brew has a hint of that smoky, savory goodness.  The sweet and salty mixture of salted caramel shines through at certain points of the sip.  There is a good amount of alcohol in the taste; like a fancy peanut butter cup filled with bourbon.  Overall, the brew is thick, roasty and creamy, like eating buckeyes (a decadent peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate) near the fireplace.  This is undoubtedly Peter’s best creation to date- the complexity AND familiarity of the Peanut Butter Porter make it a deliciously great beer for newbie tasters and seasoned beer vets alike.

Peter Kennedy is not only just an amazing homebrewer, but a genuinely great guy as well.  He is an advocate of craft beer and always willing to offer a bit of tasting advice or to share his knowledge and help educate on the world of craft beer.  He is quick to support his fellow BrewYork-er’s in their “beerdeavors” and always willing to lend a helping hand.  Check out his article about the hashtag phrase “beerpeopleRgoodpeople” and you will understand what I mean.

With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled and ears perked for the day when Simply Beer brews will be released for public consumption.  These beers are simply too good to pass up.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Ballast Point Brewing Co. Sea Monster Imperial Stout

... from the deep dark depths of the Brewmaster's imagination...

This Robust Series Limited Release hailing from Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego, California, has all the makings of an amazing imperial stout.  Among a pour with all the makings of motor oil and a whopping 10% ABV lies an underbelly of smooth drinkability that turns this brew into a perfect dessert beer.

Opaque black in color, the head on my pour was quite generous (a little over three fingers) and the shade of pancake batter.  If the pour itself didn’t show me how viscous this liquid is, the lacing on Sea Monster is reminiscent of whip cream remnants at the top of a milkshake glass, which in turn leads me to the taste.

The Sea Monster is a plethora of creamy smooth goodness- like a melted choco-mocha-malted milkshake.  The fact that there is almost no carbonation and a sweet vanilla kicker only serve to further enhance this sensation.  Don’t forget the coffee, however- and the aroma of the brew definitely won’t let you.  Finish off with a slightly bitter twist ala Starbucks and you are good to go.

The really nice quality of Ballast Point’s Sea Monster is that it is just what it says it will be- an Imperial Stout with a robust palate supported by all the normal Stout-ish players- oatmeal, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and bourbon all cut through the mocha in different waves.

I really quite like the Sea Monster, even without any crazy, outlandish ingredients or fancy aromas.  My favorite part of the brew was definitely the thickness – something unparalleled so far in any beers that I have previously tasted.  It gave it a nice, weighty feel in the mouth and in the stomach; allowing Sea Monster to properly serve its purpose as my dessert for the night; give me this over pie any day!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Nectar Ales Black Xantus Imperial Stout

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!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine