I took the day off of work today, so it’s the first day of my Thanksgiving break. Although it’s a day off, I spent a good portion of it studying for a financial services designation that I’m working on. So, while watching the videos I’m supposed to watch, I decided to crack open a beer – and since I’m not going anywhere, I decided to crack open a big one. Also, since the label said “Extend the Weekend,” and I took both today and Monday off, I felt it was appropriate. My sister brought me this 11% ABV Imperial Stout last year after a trip to the Cincinnati area. Since the can says that it was filled on 09/01, I’m guessing that must be September 1 of last year.
Location: Poured from the crowler into a snifter style pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 11% ABV, ~400 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color with almost no light visible though it when I held it up. It had a thin, off-white, creamy head that fell to a thin ring around the glass after a few minutes. It has a roasty aroma with some coffee and dark chocolate notes.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium-to-full, and the mouthfeel is smooth with a light crispness from the carbonation. Up front, it’s sweet, but roasty, almost like the liquid version of a very burnt marshmallow. In the middle, the flavors get smoother, sweeter, and richer, with a good amount of roastiness, but mixed with dark chocolate, coffee, and the sweetness of burnt ends. I’m noticing a bit of roasty bitterness in the finish along with the richness of the dark flavors. It’s a roasty, sweet, but not quite coffee like bitterness that lasts for a couple minutes in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This beer has a lot of roastiness, as well as a semi-sweet backbone, and I think the sweet roasty flavors would pair perfectly with the savoriness of BBQ, especially burnt ends. If you’re looking for something sweet instead of savory, I’d contrast these flavors with something like vanilla.
Overall Impression: On a cold, rainy fall day, I love a big imperial stout that warms you from the inside out. While this beer was cold, it felt a little bit thin, but as I let it warm up a bit, the body and flavors that I expected came in. It was predominantly roasty with some coffee and dark chocolate notes from the malty background. It was a solid beer, and I can see that this would be a good base beer for a pastry stout – like their Otto Tiramisu Stout (although that was only 8.1% compared to this one at 11% ABV) – or a bourbon barrel aged stout. Overall, it was a good stout, although I would have liked it even more with the roastiness tuned down just a slight bit and tuned the dark chocolate sweetness up a bit more… but don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good beer. If I’m in the area, I’m definitely going to see if I can get my hands on their variants of this beer.