It has been ages since I’ve sat down and been able to complete another beer review. I’ve tried several times throughout the year, and something always pops up. Back in February, I changed jobs again, and this new gig has been keeping me very busy. We’ve also done several college visits for my son, who is a senior in high school. We also took a big trip to Italy for our 20th anniversary. With everything going on, I’ve had plenty of beers, but haven’t taken the time to do this.
This beer was a Christmas gift from my dad several years ago, and it’s been sitting in the cellar waiting for me. I’ve been trying to convince myself that there’s no perfect time to crack open some of these great beers I’ve been cellaring. So, since it’s been a very relaxing Thanksgiving weekend, I figured I’d top it off by taking some time to enjoy and review this beer. The label says it was bottled on April 29, 2016.
Location: Poured into a snifter style pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 9.5% ABV, ~400 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color, and I can’t even see light through it when I hold it up. It had a very thick, creamy, deep tan head on it that fell to a thin layer over the top after a few minutes. It has a lightly roasty, dark chocolate aroma with a good amount of oakiness to it – not like a bourbon barrel, but more of a fresh oak woodiness.
Taste & Feel: It’s full bodied with a very smooth, and lightly oily mouthfeel. The first sip hits with a bold, semi-sweet, very dark chocolate flavor with plenty of oak – both in the nose and flavor. The dark chocolate flavor picks up a bit more sweetness in the middle, along with hints of coffee roastiness underneath the rich, dark cocoa. The sweetness seems to disappear in the finish, leaving an almost dark bakers cocoa flavor along with some lightly bitter roastiness.
Food Pairing: I enjoyed this beer with some Thanksgiving leftovers – turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing – and it was a perfect pairing. The rich cocoa flavors and the light turkey were a nice contrast when switching back and forth between drinks and bites.
Overall Impression: This was a good beer, that was exactly as described. However, I was hoping for something a bit different. This beer had more of a dark cocoa, roasty flavor, and I was hoping for a bit more sweet milk chocolate flavor. I was also hoping for a bourbon barrel flavor, and this was more of a fresh oak flavor. When I had the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, I guess I expected the more roasty, coffee flavors. Although I wanted or expected something different, it was still a good beer, but I don’t think I’d get it again given the price.