After having the Vermilion, my friend Joe demanded we get a bottle of the Abraxas. He’s had it before and raved about it. It’s an “Imperial Stout aged on Mexican cocoa nibs, ancho chiles, vanilla beans, and cinnamon,” so as you can tell, it’s supposed to have a rich, complex flavor.
Location: Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet glass, at Perennial Artisan Ales in St. Louis, MO.
Numbers: 10% ABV, ~ 300 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It was extremely black and almost no light was visible through it when I held it up to the little bit of light available in the tasting room. When poured somewhat aggressively, there was a thin head which fell to a creamy/soapy ring of bubbles around the edges of the glass. The aroma was rich, full of chocolate and roastiness. In the background (knowing what was in it), I could slightly pick up on the vanilla and ancho chilis.
Taste & Feel: The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with a bit of carbonation, and the body was full. The flavors up front were roasty and cocoa-like, almost like dark chocolate, with hints of coffee/espresso. In the middle, the other flavors started kicking in, joining the roasty cocoa, first with the vanilla and cinnamon, followed by a warming combination of the chilis and alcohol warmth (not fusel alcohol flavors, but the feeling of warmth). It finished slightly dry with the chocolate and spices lasting in the the aftertaste a bit.
Food Pairing: This was a very rich and flavorful beer, and with all of the chocolate in it, it begs to be paired with something chocolaty. I think it would be superb with chocolate covered raspberries or a chocolate lava cake. If that pairing is much too rich for your blood, you could pair it with something very light, like an angel food cake, in order to cleanse the palate and enjoy the flavors in the beer over and over again.
Overall Impression: Given the description of the beer, and everything it had in it, I was expecting a very complex imperial stout. This beer nicely spaced out the array of flavors – both across the tongue and in the front-to-finish layers of each sip. I really enjoyed the mix of flavors, especially the cocoa roastiness. In fact, it almost reminded me of drinking a rich candy bar or dessert. I’m definitely going to have to get a bottle of this the next time I’m in St. Louis. Thank you Joe for introducing me to this very good beer!