Our Saturday afternoon and evening has been full of packing and watching basketball. It was time to just take a break and enjoy a beer and the end of the exciting Wisconsin-Oregon game. I bought this beer at the local liquor store several years back, and it sat in the bottom of the beer fridge for the last four or five years. Now that the beer fridge is emptied out, the last one out is the first one on top, and I decided it was probably about time to enjoy this one.
The bottle says, “For years, we’ve wanted to brew an Imperial Stout, a really, really, big one. Here it is! Behold the stunning crimson hues through the inky blackness. Inhale the noble Hallertau hops, spicy and floral. Savor the flavors redolent of English toffee, rich mocha, sweet molasses, candied currants and a hint of anise. This tyrannical monster is ready to liberate now, but we highly recommend cellaring additional bottles, as The Czar will continue to mature and become denser and more complex with age. Brewed with pure Rocky Mountain water, imported malted barley, German Hallertau hops, and English yeast.”
Location: Poured into a snifter glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 10.82% ABV, 70 IBUs, 1.104 OG, ~330 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark black in color with some very faint brown highlights when held up to the light. It had a half inch thick creamy head on it which fell very slowly over a few minutes. The aroma is a mix of roastiness and cocoa.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is mostly smooth with a little bit of crispness from the carbonation. It has a semi-sweet dark chocolate flavor upfront. In the middle, the dark cocoa flavors grow and are joined by a dose of roastiness. The finish is somewhat sweet with a good amount of molasses flavor and hints of roasty bitterness. The aftertaste is molasses and roasty sweetness with a bit of black licorice.
Food Pairing: This is a flavorful beer, and I think I’d pair it with a contrastingly sweet meal like cheesecake or bread pudding. It would definitely make an excellent beer float with some vanilla ice cream.
Overall Impression: Perhaps it was because it had been aged almost 5 years, but it was very smooth and rich. It had an interesting mix of dark cocoa, roastiness, and molasses flavors. After several drinks, I enjoyed a gentle alcohol warmth, but the molasses and black licorice flavors wore on my palate by the end of the 22oz bottle. Overall, it was a good imperial stout, and I’m planning to buy a fresh bottle soon just to compare it to this aged one.