523. Yazoo Brewing – SUE Imperial Smoked Porter

523. Yazoo Brewing - SUE Imperial Smoked PorterIt’s a Saturday afternoon, and we spent the morning cleaning house. So, this afternoon I’m sitting here watching my Missouri Tigers play on ESPN, and cracking open this big beer, because they are playing like crap.  This beer was given to me by my fellow Mizzou alum, and friend, Joe. The bottle has a January bottling date marked on it. So, I assume it’s about a year old. The bottlecap, the label, everything is black, and I bet this is a tribute to Johnny Cash. The bottle says, “The south is famous for smoking almost everything. Why not a beer? Yazoo Sue is a big, rich, smoky malt bomb of a beer. With mellow smokiness coming from barley malts smoked with cherry wood, and assertive bitterness from Galena and Perle hops to cleanse the finish.

Location: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass from the bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 9% ABV, 93 IBUs, ~ 280 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color with only a little bit of brown highlights when I held it up to the light. It’s got a good amount of carbonation, leaving a finger thick, creamy, tan head. The aroma is dark fruits, raisins, and some molasses.

Taste & Feel: The body is full, and the mouth feel is smooth and velvety. Up front, there’s a sweet, dark maltiness with some dark fruit, almost black cherry-like flavors. In the middle, more of the dark fruits come through along with some dark cocoa and smokiness from the malts. An earthy, slightly citrusy, hop flavor comes through in the finish, but what I noticed most in the finish was the bitterness mixing with the smoky and dark flavors to give it a smooth, but slightly charred barrel-like flavor. The aftertaste lasts briefly, but is a mix of the dark cocoa and dark fruits.

Food Pairing: A beer as flavorful as this could be paired in a couple of different ways. If you really wanted to highlight the flavors in this beer, I’d go with a pork loin or pork chops, which would allow the flavors of this beer to take front stage, and let the dark fruits complement the light meat. If you wanted a meal that could stand up to this beer, I go with a thick, juicy steak or a rack of ribs, and let the dark, smoky, charred flavors mix together.

Overall Impression: This beer has a solid body and great mouth feel, along with some really interesting, complex dark fruit and smoky flavors. The smokiness reminds me a lot of some good barrel aged beers, giving it a lot of the same complexity as those styles. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer with a complex mix of really enjoyable dark flavors. I’m going to see if I can get Joe to send me a few more of these.

My Rating: ★★★★½

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Author: Kevin

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