I’m at 4 Hands Brewing in St. Louis, MO, enjoying a few beers in their tasting room, including their Divided Sky Rye IPA and their Reprise Centennial Red Ale. My friend Joe just had this beer, and recommended I try it myself. As a fan of Russian Imperials, I indulged in a third beer here before we headed off to another local microbrewery.
According to 4 Hands, “Bona Fide Imperial Stout is a collaborative effort with Goshen Coffee, a local fair trade coffee roaster. This beer is big, bold, and in your face. Bona Fide pours black as night with a smooth mouth feel. Aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, with nuances of vanilla.”
Location: Enjoyed in a snifter at the tasting room at 4 Hands Brewing Co. in St. Louis, MO.
Numbers: 9% ABV, 65 IBU’s, ~ 283 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It was very black in color, and almost no light shown through it when I held it up to the light. The foamy head was dark tan in color and stuck around for a bit, leaving some lacing on the glass. There was a roasted malt aroma with a good amount of coffee and cocoa smells, along with a lightly noticeable grassy hop aroma.
Taste & Feel: The body was full and the mouthfeel was slightly crisp from the carbonation with some smooth oiliness. Up front there was a roasty malt sweetness along with a roasted coffee flavor. In the middle, these flavors were joined by some rich chocolate and cocoa flavors and a hint of vanilla. The finish was roasty maltiness and coffee with a bit of the grassy hop bitterness.
Food Pairing: This would go very nicely with a dessert. Whether that’s chocolate cake or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the coffee and chocolate flavors in this beer (along with it being high in alcohol) make it an ideal after dinner beer. By itself, this beer has a bit of richness. so you wouldn’t have to pair it with anything.
Overall Impression: Overall, I thought this was a very solid, very flavorful Russian Imperial Stout. The coffee and chocolate flavors were bold and rich, matched with plenty of hoppiness. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed this even more with slighly less hop aroma and flavor, highlighting the roasty and cocoa flavors even more. However, this was certainly a very good beer, and one that I would definitely try again. After sampling several of their beers in the last few days, I’m going to make 4 Hands growler run the next time I’m in St. Louis.