There’s a ton of stress right now in my life between owning/maintaining two homes and trying to sell one of them. On top of that, I’m having to interview to keep my job, deal with air conditioner issues at both houses, and other things too numerous to mention here. I chose this big beer to enjoy for the ceremonious landmark of #700 because I was given it by John Harris when I brewed with him at Full Sail Riverplace in Portland a few years ago. Thanks John! By the way, a couple years ago, John left Full Sail and started his own thing at Ecliptic Brewing, check them out.
Location: Poured into a St. Bernardus snifter glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 8% ABV, ~280 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark black in color and almost no light shines through it when held up to the light. It has almost no head, just a thin, creamy, tan ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The aroma is like dark chocolate with a little bit of booziness and roastiness.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is very smooth. There’s a semi-sweet and somewhat dry dark cocoa flavor up front with some black licorice flavors. These flavors are present in the middle, but are joined by some dark cocoa and almost coffee-like bitterness. The bitterness comes down a little bit in the finish, but is still predominant. There is a good amount of dark cocoa, dark roastiness,and some black licorice in the finish, which lasts in the aftertaste for a few minutes.
Food Pairing: There’s no doubt that these dark flavors would go perfectly with a grilled steak or BBQ with just a little bit of sweet charring on them.
Overall Impression: I was hoping this beer had aged nicely, and it had. It was very smooth, and had a very good, interesting, complex mix of dark flavors. I only wish it could have maintained a bit more carbonation, but what can you expect after it sat and aged for 6 years. I really loved the complexity of dark flavors, from the dark cocoa to the roastiness and black licorice throughout. Overall, this is a very fine beer, and I can’t wait to dig into the barrel aged imperial stouts I have sitting in the beer fridge from Full Sail.