A few weeks ago, I was in Chicago for work and a coworker recommended I stop by Imperial Oak Brewing. I had a nice flight of samples, and decided to get a crowler of this beer to bring home and review.
Location: Poured into a large Sam Adams Perfect pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL
Numbers: 10% ABV, ~380 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s deep brick-red and brown in color and somewhat hazy. It had a big, foamy head at first, which fell to a thin, creamy layer of bubbles over the top. It has a solid malty aroma.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium in the mouth feel is smooth with a little bit of creaminess. The flavor up front is sweet and malty, with an earthy, dark fruit maltiness. It smooths out in the middle with a nice dark maltiness. There’s a good amount of earthy hop bitterness in the finish, but the dark malty sweetness is the most prominent. The mix of maltiness and earthy hop bitterness is balanced in the aftertaste, which lasts for a couple minutes.
Food Pairing: This beer has mostly sweet dark malty flavors mixed with some earthy hop bitterness. Therefore, I’d go with something lighter, like a pork chop, to let the flavors in this beer stand out.
Overall Impression: I liked the maltiness in this beer, although it was a bit more of a darker fruit sweetness than the typical caramel-like maltiness. The earthy hoppiness helped to balance it, and mixed nicely with this beer. Overall, I thought it was a good, big beer with a lot of flavor. However, I thought the mix of dark maltiness and earthy bitterness made for a bit of a muddled flavor.