The Bruery Black Tuesday

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Only in America can we celebrate a holiday in which we get together with people that we love to give thanks for everything we have, then the next day we trample people in line to acquire things that we don’t.  Black Friday brings out the worst in people and it’s all over saving a few bucks on a TV, laptop, or latest widget.  And for the beer lover, it’s no better.  For us, it means trying to guess what bottle shop is going to have the variants… and if we’re limited to four regulars, it’s worse than our first break up.  To protest this madness, I’m going to pop open something pretty special that I really want to share with close friends.  Why not have a Black Tuesday on Black Friday?  And the numbers…

IMG_3778Appearance:  A rich brown, mahogany color that left no head or lacing behind.  While it wasn’t blacker and more dismal than the stock market crash in ’29, it was a beer to be taken seriously on pour alone.

Smell:  Huge bourbon notes jump from the glass coupled with dark fruits – raisins, dates, figs, and some prune.  I also get butterscotch, coconut, and caramel as well as a tremendous booziness that many turned to during the depression era.  God damn it Hoover.

Taste:  Oh man that’s tasty.  Deep, rich bourbon notes hit immediately but the sweetness of the grain oozes out.  Caramel, brown sugar, butterscotch, and toffee immediately quell much of the bourbon heat this boheamouth gives off.  The dark fruits make an appearance at the finish line as I get some raisins and figs, but nothing overpowering.  There is some presence of the oak, but it’s more seen in the bourbon – this thing wacks you with a strong whiskey uppercut.   The heat from the whiskey is also felt strongly as you get a nice burn in the back of your throat that lingers for a while.  The alcohol in this beer makes you pause before digging back into the glass, but the flavors can’t really keep you away.

The mouthfeel on Black Tuesday is medium to full bodied, but not as heavy as one would expect given the ABV.  I’ve given a lot of referIMG_3790ences to the booze in here – it’s 19.7%.  This may very well be the strongest beer I ever review on Beer Chatter.  It’s mighty powerful.  As mentioned earlier, I am going to share this bottle with friends in a couple of hours – 1, I really want them to have some 2, I would be shwasted if I didn’t, and 3, the bottle is over 2,000 calories.  You really need to split this beer if you acquire it, I’m already feeling a little tingly off of a pretty small pour thus far.  Speaking of tingly, the carbonation in here is on the bubbly side given the fact that it’s a stout.  I would prefer if it were toned down a bit, but as usual, it doesn’t take away from the beer.

Overall:  This beer is really quite tasty, but the lengths at which people go through to acquire a bottle really isn’t worth it.  I traded for this brew (and really didn’t lose my shirt over it), but there are several BA imperial stouts that can give this a run for it’s money.  Fremont Bourbon Aged Dark Star and Hoppin’ Frog Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. are two that come to mind, but with that said, it’s still a wonderful brew.  I’ll give it an A overall – the whiskey flavors in here are undeniable and the balance The Bruery is able to achieve given the massive ABV is impressive.  It’s worth a shot, but don’t be willing to crash your portfolio to get it.

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Fremont Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition

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Beer, bourbon, coffee.  Three things that quite possibly are ranked 1, 2, and 3 on my culinary must haves if stranded on a desert island.  Thankfully, I would be able to add some food on that list because Fremont decided to make a brew with all three of my favorite liquid treats.  Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Coffee Edition is something that comes out every fall for Seattle based Fremont Brewing.  It’s an oatmeal stout gone wild and is something that I’m willing to tame.  Will this brew be desert island quality?  Time for them numbers…

IMG_3776Appearance:  Jet black with no head.  There were some tan bubbles that I saw for a few seconds until they vanished into the abyss.

Smell:  Big coffee nose with a light bourbon smell and some roasted, charred grain coming through.  There is no mistaking this for a coffee stout.  I also get some oaky tannins from the wood, but am surprised that I’m not getting more bourbon.  Fremont has a way to subtly let you know that their beers are barrel aged off of aroma.

Taste:  Oh my goodness.  This stout is incredible!  First thing I notice is vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel.  The toasted oak really imparts a lot of flavor in here without it being overly bourbony, although you do get a meaningful bourbon presence on the back end of this beer.  The bourbon and the booze found in this brew leave you with some heat in the back of the throat, but what else would you expect at 29 proof?  The coffee makes its way into the beer imparting some bitterness and additional roast, and its a little more subdued than the smell would suggest, but it’s definitely there.  The whiskey really rounds things out hIMG_3775ere – as mentioned before, it does not at all dominate the flavor of the beer but adds a lot of character with oak, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon flavors.

As alluded to earlier, this beer is a massive 14.5% ABV.  It drinks a little hot because of it, but it does not distract from the rest of the brew.  The mouthfeel on Coffee KDS is nice and silky with the addition of oats, and something that trumps BCBCS.  The carbonation is fine (if anything it’s lacking a bit) but I’d prefer that in a big ABV stout.  All of the factors combined makes this beer fairly drinkable, but the heat makes it a 2+ hour beer for sure.  I’m confident that I’ll finish it in one sitting, but it’s likely best to be shared.

Overall:  This is one heck of a BA coffee stout.  The flavors from the wood, the coffee, and the bourbon really come together and make this a memorable beer.  There are several of these blue waxed beers hanging out in my cellar, but I wanted to drink one fresh just for kicks; I am certain with age this beer will only get better.  It’ll be interesting drinking one of these with a few years on it.  All said and done, I have to give this Fremont an A.  Had this review taken place a year from now, it may get a different rating, but I’m judging with what I have in front of me.  Fremont shines again, and they can do no wrong.

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Tree House Brewing Good Morning

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I am not a morning person.  The sound of my alarm going off makes me want to jump from a sky scraper and slip into an eternal coma.  However, every weekday, I groggily make my way from the bed wiping the snot from my eyes and muscle my way into the bathroom, somehow finding the strength to pick up my toothbrush to get that morning breath out of my mouth.  Next is the face exfoliation and shower, which I tell myself will wake me up, but the warm water trickling down only makes me want to reach for my pillow for another eight hours.  Getting dressed is always a challenge, since at this point I find there no motivation to even use my legs, let alone to look proper for the day.  I find some clothes that aren’t wrinkled – if the colors match it’s a happenstancial bonus – and make my way downstairs.  I pretend to be excited to see my dog, start the Keurig machine, and begrudgingly take my keys and make it to the car.  The whole commute in I yearn for Saturday morning so I can finally sleep in and by the time I make it to my destination, I finally accept that life must go on.

IMG_3646Mornings are a struggle for me.  Good Morning can change all that.  A coffee stout brewed with the finest grain and freshly tapped maple syrup, it brings me back to the fun mornings in elementary school waking up early to watch Sonic the Hedgehog and Power Rangers.  Will this beer live up to my sentimental memories or be more disappointing than that sandbox, tree house, and finished basement my parents promised me when I was little?  Time to run them numbers!

Appearance:  Black with a cascading dark khaki head that quickly shrunk; no lacing as I drank.

Smell:  Big maple syrup notes… I got that as soon as I started pouring Good Morning into the matching teku.  I also got substantial coffee, roasted grain, chocolate, smoke, and fudge brownie.  This smells incredible… I can’t wait to dive in.

Taste:  That’s really, really nice.  There is a robustness to this brew fronted by charred grain and assertive coffee.  The maple syrup comes through nicely as it’s clearly identifiable and tastes like Grandma’s homemade pancakes early Sunday morning.  I get some nice dark chocolate that complements the bitterness of the grain and coffee while also adding to the body of the brew – it’s sticky, silky, and very rich.  Too much of this brew could probably give you gout.  I’m not sure if it’s the syrup or the coffee, but I’m also picking up on some vanilla sprinkled throughout the brew.  Everything melds so great together.  The flavors in here just work, and the name of this beer does a great job of describing it.  Imagine chocolate chip pancakes, with a sweet yet biscuity profile drizzled with authentic maple syrup straight from the sugar shack paired with your favorite cup of morning joe.  That’s this beer in a nutshell. 

IMG_3651As I continued to drink, Good Morning just kept getting gooder and gooder better and better.  I wasn’t wowed initially because I did detect a little chalkiness from the taste/texture, which I found off putting, however after a few sips into it, that vanished and more and more maple syrup came out.  I’m really surprised how prominent that flavor is within this beer.  The coffee and roasted grains are also stars of the show, but the maple syrup makes this beer elite.  The mouthfeel was nice and sticky and the carbonation was purposefully light, not to be a distraction.  The ABV on Good Morning was 8.4%, but I was able to taste the booze in here.  I actually thought it would be a bit bigger given the taste, but the alcohol flavor was far suppressed underneath all of the other notes in the brew.

Overall:  This beer is now ranked number one on Beer Advocate’s top 250 list.  Does it deserve this spot?  That’s really quite subjective, and I’m not sure the answer to that; what I can say is that this beer is an elite adjunct stout bursting with all the flavors you’d ever want in a stout.  This is the best non-barrel-aged stout I’ve had by a large margin as the syrup really puts it over the top.  I actually think if they put it in bourbon barrels, you wouldn’t be able to dissect all of the parts to it.  To cut to the chase, this beer gets an A+ and nod into the hall of fame.  A truly distinct beer with an amazing flavor profile.  I’m glad to have gotten my hands on this… it might even make me a morning person.

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Mikkeller Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

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What always makes things better?  Bourbon.  This American made elixir is fantastic on its own, but elevates other culinary goodies to a new level, most notably beer.  Mikkeller embraces the gift of bourbon and has allowed one of their better brews to rest in its barrel, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel.  This beer is packed with oats, coffee, charred grain, and of course, some of that vanillay, caramelly bourbon.  Enough said, let’s run them numbers!

IMG_3624Appearance:  Jet black, no head, no lacing as I drank, no more to say.

Smell:  Bourbon, molasses, chocolate, roasted grain, coffee, slight smoke, slightly tannic, and hints of vanilla.  This beer smells big, bold, and in your face – very much like the original version.

Taste:  Oh dear lord, this beer is insane.  On first taste there is so much going on: coffee, graham cracker, bourbon, roasted grain, vanilla… and those flavors are all identified individually, but also collaborate brilliantly with one another.  The depth of flavor in here is what makes this beer so great.  It starts off strong and finishes with the same tenaciousness.  The bourbon lingers from across the palate and its presence can be found from sip to swallow imparting whiskey flavors as well as cinnamon and vanilla.  The base of this beer is strong enough to hold up to the bourbon aging with a ton of coffee breaking through pairedIMG_3635 with grain that has a nice, deep toast to it.  The finish to this beer is ever so slightly bitter which can be attributed to the tannins in the wood or the bite of the coffee, either way it actually works with the other aggressive flavors in the brew.

The mouthfeel on BA Brunch was full bodied and silky smooth as if Mikkeller added tons of oats to the mash.  The carbonation was light as it should have been for an imperial stout and the ABV on this brew was 10.9%, which is actually the same as the non BA version.  You can taste a little more booze here, but it does not overshadow the flavors; with that said, it also is pretty drinkable for a BA stout.  I found my teku to be empty earlier than I wanted.

Overall:  This beer is awesome.  I loved the original beer, but the Bourbon aging process just elevates this to another level.  So many flavors, yet very cohesive at the same time gives this beer an A/A+.  The only think I would ask Mikkeller to improve upon is the finish, but that’d be really splitting hairs.  Enjoy this beer with a bourbon chaser.

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Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

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Growing up (and even still to this day) my mother’s favorite dessert was a toasted biscotti with almonds and a chocolate coated bottom, along with a side of rich coffee.  As a kid, I hated biscottis because I couldn’t have coffee – to have one without the other is sacrilegious in my book, and now I realize the combination is more effective than Batman and Robin.  Evil Twin takes a page from my mother’s book to combine the flavors of coffee with rich roasted grain and added spices to create a very acclaimed stout in Imperial Biscotti Break.  Will it live up to the real thing?  Time for them numbers.

IMG_3585Appearance:  Jet black with zero head to speak of.  The brew came out of the bottle at a slow pace and you can tell this is going to be one thick beer.  No lacing as I drank.

Smell:  Heavy roasted grain, coffee, chocolate, hazelnuts, dark raisins, dates, and vanilla.  It also smells creamy, but I could be getting that from seeing how thick this brew poured.  Smells great.

Taste:  Roasted grain clings to your palate upon first sip, but is balanced out by so many flavors.  A lot of stouts can be overly charred with the grain dominating in the taste, but Evil Twin does a great job to incorporate sweet and bitter to make things a little more interesting.  After the big grain blast, I get notes of vanilla, marshmallow, and toasted nuts – all of these notes really help to compliment the the robust malt profile in here.  To round things out, there is some bitterness on the finish from the added coffee beans which not only helps the balance of the brew but also adds more depth and richness to the beer.  No one flavor jumps out to me and the more I drink the more balance this beer becomes to me.

IMG_3586Along the way in drinking this beer, brownie batter and chocolate make their way in during the mid palate, again complementing all the flavors found in here.  What also makes this beer harmonize is the body on it – I can say with certainty this is a heavy bodied beer.  It has a very silky texture and I wouldn’t be shocked if oats were thrown in during the mash.  The luscious mouthfeel pairs well with the low carbonation found in here.  Upon drinking this, I feel as if Evil Twin executed this beer flawlessly and it was made with a lot of thought.  The flavors work, the carbonation is great with a thick body, and the ABV in here is high, but cannot be detected; 11.5% can be tough to mask, but there is no heat coming from the liquid… amazing.

Overall:  This is one heck of an imperial stout and reminds me a bit of Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, only with less coffee.  That’s really not too surprising though as the head brewer at Evil Twin is actually the twin brother of Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, co-founder of Mikkeller.  All things considered I have to give this beer an A-/A.  The midpalate can be a bit much with its sweet flavors, but more so, serving this beer in a 22oz format makes it tough to finish in one sitting or by oneself.  Who needs coffee AND biscotti when you can find the flavors of both in one beverage.

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Fulton War & Peace

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Ever have a craving for something you shouldn’t have a craving for?  At a Michelin Star restaurant, all of a sudden you’re hoping that they have Drake’s Cakes Devil Dogs for dessert?  Or on a hot summer day when you should be drinking an IPA or sour, all of a sudden you get a hankering for some coffee stout?  Yea, you know what I’m talking about.  The lucky winner for this craving was Fulton Beer Company with their War and Peach Coffee Stout.  Coming from Minnesooooooooooota, these guys know a thing or two about producing a cold weather classic.  Let’s run them numbers to see if that’s truth.

IMG_3496Appearance:  Mystifying.  Figured my Tate Modern coffee mug would make a great choice for this beer seeing it’s clearly a morning brew.  Anywho, the head was tan and there was no lacing.  Want me to give you a risky prediction?… It was jet black in color.

Smell:  Coffee milk shake.  Huge notes of chocolate, coffee, lactose, and mild roasted grain.  It smells incredibly creamy – like freshly churned Vermont ice cream.  The aroma is much more sweet than other coffee stouts I’ve had and is probably the best smelling of them all.

Taste:  Woah… that’s powerful stuff.  First sip is much more punchy than I was expecting and the coffee astringency is  giving off a fair amount of tongue jabbing bitterness, most notably on the finish.  In addition to the bitterness, the other thing that jumps out at me upon first impression is the booze in here.  You can feel the warmth in the back of your throat from the heightened ABV, almost 10IMG_3519%.  After the palate gets trained to the bitterness in the beer, more of the stout flavors emerge including those typical roasted grains, dark chocolate, and toasted coconut.  The sweeter flavors I picked up on in the smell really aren’t giving way in the taste.  Outside of the bitterness on the finish, I also pick up on a “grain tea” taste, especially when the beer warms up.  Homebrewers can relate to this… it tastes like wort after mashing – kind of sweet and grain concentrated after the first run off.  Other than those flavors, I’m not getting much else.

The ABV on here, as mentioned before, is close to double digits and clocks in at 9.5%.  It was a bit boozy, but what do you expect for an imperial stout?  The mouthfeel is medium to ful bodied and the carbonation wasn’t fine for a stout.

Overall:  I liked War & Peace, but didn’t love it; it gets a B/B+ from me.  It could have benefited with a little less bitterness and a little more sweetness.  Vanilla would have made this brew phenomenal and a touch thicker mouthfeel would have been nice too, however it did satisfy my craving.

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Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

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For some, to find the word “weasel” in the title of one of Mikkeller’s flagship brews may be off putting.  But without the help of a small, Southeast Asian rodent this beer would not be possible.  Mikkeller whips up an oatmeal stout infused with coffee stout with this brew, however not just any coffee will meet their needs.  That’s were the little guy known as the civet comes into play.  This animal goes around eating coffee beans scattered around the trees but they cannot fully digest the beans, so when they pass it their system adds a unique flavor.  Farmers prize their scat for this, collect it, and wash and roast the beans afterwards.  Praise the guy who every had the courage to do that.  With that in mind, let’s see how this little dude affect Brunch Weasel.  Time for them numbers…

IMG_1705Appearance:  Jet black with a dark tan head that left no lacing on my glass.  The head stuck around for a little while, which was surprising given the ABV but eventually fell into the abyss.  Although there was no lacing appearant, there was a good deal of sediment that clung to the sides as I drank, but more on that later.

Smell:  Roasted grains, molasses, dark chocolate, some cardboard, a little booze, and a substantial amount of coffee.  I could smell it as soon as I pryed the cap off of this bad boy.

Taste:  That is some really good stuff right there.  Roasted grains lead the charge in this brew giving off hellacious flavor.  From those grains, I get flavors like charred veggies, brownie corners, and dark, bitter chocolate.  Then the coffee drops and just takes over the brew.  I like my dark roasts, but holy hell, is that an intense coffee flavor.  Imagine the boldest FrenchIMG_5326.JPG roast you have ever had and multiply it by 10… that’s the type of coffee flavor we’re talking about in Brunch Weasel.  It’s certainly enough to wake you up in the morning, but it’s not an afterthought at all.  The rich coffee flavors play perfectly with the assertiveness from the grain and balance it out a bit as well.  I am curious as to what the IBUs in this beer are as I am getting a distinct bitter charge, however it’s not a hoppy bitterness, but one you would find out of an espresso that is dry and lingering.  Towards the finish, things start to round out as I get a vanilla bean or vanilla extract flavor accompanied by a pinch of sweetness, which may be attributed to the ABV in this beer.

At 10.9%, the alcohol in here holds its own to the rich and robust flavors, but the shocking thing is that it cannot be detected at all in the taste.  No burn, no obscene nail polish taste.  The mouthfeel on Brunch Weasel was also superb for an imperial oatmeal coffee stout – silky and full bodied as it should have beIMG_1700en.  This beer has such depth of flavor and is quite punchy given the ABV, you might expect it to be tough to drink, but that is far from the case.  The 11.2 ounces in this beer went down nicely and if it was packaged as a bomber, I could have finished it in once sitting with ease.

Overall:  This brew was phenomenal.  The depth of flavor in here was incredible and the whole experience from start to finish was great.  The only knock on this beer was the amount of sediment in it… so much so that it clung to the sides of the teku.  I poured this beer aggressively to get as much head as I could, but towards the end of the bottle I saw chunks fall in.  My advise is to pour gingerly with your eye on the liquid coming out so you can leave the solids out.  Because of that I’ll give this brew an A, otherwise, we’re looking at a flawless beer.  And it’s all possible because of the civet.

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Omnipollo Bourbon Barrel Aged Hypnopompa

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Ever have the feeling that somebody is watching you?  As I was walking through isles of the package store I bought this in, I noticed this beer.  It seemed to be afraid to make direct eye contact with me, but when I found out it was a bourbon aged stout brewed with marshmallows and vanilla beans from Tahiti, I didn’t think it’d be too shy.  I decided to pull the trigger this past summer, knowing that it would be reserved for the winter.  Although it’s early March, it’s still enough time to squeeze this beer in before the trees start to bud.  Let’s run them numbers…

IMG_1595Appearance:  Jet black with a little dark khaki head that dissipated quickly.  On the pour, the beer slowly matriculated into the glass giving me a sense of how dense it will likely be.

Smell:  Molasses, bourbon, roasted grain, dates, figs, dark fruits, and a little vanilla.  You can tell this is going to be a dark and robust stout – it smells like a Russian winter. 

Taste:  Huge roasted grain profile that is hearty and scorched.  Toasted rye bread, coffee, cigar smoke, and creme brulee topping are all things coming to my mind when sipping on this.  The bourbon might be in there, but it’s so difficult to tell over the hellacious malts used but you do get it in the burn.  That says something when the malt profile is more pronounced than the bourbon.  Very little sweetness and vanilla come out in the brew even though it’s concocted with marshmallows and vanilla bean.  The flavors in here are really a one trick pony, yet the beer still seems to be all over the place.  Mostly, I get charred graiIMG_1603n and a nice alcohol burn all the way to the stomach.

Although the label says 11.2% ABV, I wouldn’t question somebody if they said it was 18%.  I drinks much higher than the label would suggest.  I wouldn’t attribute the heat in this brew to its youth as it’s been aged for about two years, which is long enough to calm things down.  The alcohol in here also attributes to the viscous and oily mouthfeel making this beer a sipper for sure.  Thank god it’s only an 11.2 oz bottle, there would be no way a mere human could finish 22 ounces of this.

Overall:  As you could probably imagine, this beer doesn’t get the highest of ratings from me.  It’s not as balanced as I would like to see out of BA stout and is just a little too much.  I’d give it a B- overall – would love to see more complexity out of this glaring beer.

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Hoppin’ Frog Barrel Aged D.O.R.I.S.

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It’s not too often you run into a Thelma, Edith, Martha, Betty, or Theresa nowadays.  Those names are well past their prime much like that jar of strawberry jam growing mold in the back of your fridge.  I think it’s safe to say that Doris can easily qualify for that list of names that make you think of Grandma.  However, Ohio based Hoppin’ Frog must have an admiration for their Me-Ma’s stronger than Sheldon Cooper.  While the name of their beer may make you think of the HurryCane, 4:00 dinners, and Sunday morning mass, what’s inside is way less innocent.  A boozy bourbon aged stout is something I can’t picture Gram drinking.  Time to figure out if this beer by any other name would taste as good.  Let’s run them numbers…

IMG_1457Appearance:  Jet black with dark khaki head that was maybe 2mm thick.  No lacing as I drank.

Smell:  Rubber, molasses, roasted grain, burnt biscuits, oak, and bourbon.  The whiskey smell in here isn’t very prominent with the grains being more impactful.  Usually on a whiskey aged brew, you notice it right away, but that wasn’t the case with D.O.R.I.S.

Taste:  Upon first impression, this beer is really biscuity and hearty.  There is a strong roasted presence from the grain that really takes over in this brew.  The grain is by far the most apparent element in this beer and the bourbon takes a backseat for me.  The grain adds a lot of roasted and toasty characteristics, but I also get charred biscuits, toffee, molasses, and a faint amount of bourbon.  This bIMG_1443eer reminds me a lot of Barbapappa, only with a touch of bourbon to round things out.

The mouthfeel is heavy and thick as one would expect from a double imperial stout (which is a touch redundant if you ask me).  The ABV is in the double digits – 10.5% to be specific – which complemented the mouthfeel.  This brew was a sipper for sure, but it was easy to get down considering the flavors and ABV.

Overall:  D.O.R.I.S. was a very solid beer.  The flavors were very rich and robust, but I did enjoy Hoppin’ Frog’s B.O.R.I.S. a little more.  D.O.R.I.S. finishes with an A-.  A respectable grade on the report card worth at least 5 bucks from Grandma.

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Pretty Things Barbapapa

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Whenever people find out about a potentially cataclysmic snowstorm coming their way, their minds go to a few narrow places.  Bread and milk, get off the roads, gas in the snowblower, wood for the fireplace, and the less rational app update of Instagram for all the pretty snow pictures.  All seem like priorities other than the latter, however for this impending blizzard, I also was thinking of pretty things.  Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project that is, from the 30 inches of snow state known as Massachusetts.  For this winter storm, I reached in my cellar for an imposing Russian Imperial Stout to keep up with the weather.  I’m hoping it keeps me warm an roasty like a 17th century fire.  Time for them numbers…

IMG_1381Appearance:  Trying to see through this beer is like staring at a wall and trying to see the sun.  It is jet black with no hope of any rays making their way through the glass.  When poured it gave a nice, dark tan head that was frothy and soft, however it didn’t last for very long at all.

Smell:  Big roasted grains, molasses, anise, slight chocolate and coffee notes, spice, and faint leather.  This stout smells bold and brash.

Taste:  The depth of flavor in this bottle would rival the Mariana Trench.  I first get grains that are so roasty you need a fire extinguisher to put them out.  They give off a charred onion taste with a little bit of spiciness you can detect on the palate after you swallow.  Notes of coffee, the darkest chocolate, and a little smoke are also raveled up in the flavor of the malt with some bitter-sweet molasses shoving its way through a densely packed grain field.  As you get accustomed to the ferocity of the grain, the beer begins to sweeten a fair amount, especially as it warms.  The texture of the beer coats the entire palate with a blanket of sweet grain on the finish, very similIMG_1390ar to how the wort of an imperial stout would taste before the boil.  That sweetness can also be attributed to this beer’s massive ABV as well.

Speaking of the texture on this brew, it was one of the first things I noticed.  It might be the most silky and velvety beer I’ve ever had;  I don’t recall a beer quite as smooth as this one.  The body bolsters this RIS, but it does cut down on the drinkability here.  It’ll take some time before this bomber is finished.  The carbonation pairs perfectly with such a full bodied beer – it’s there, but just enough to evenly distribute the liquid across the tongue.  As hinted before, the ABV on this beer is nothing to scoff at, ringing it at 12%.  Suprisingly, it does not drink hot nor can you specifically pick out the booze from the rest of the brash flavors in here.

Overall:  Barbapapa is an insane RIS and one of the best I’ve come across.  This brew is certainly not for the timid or occasional stout drinker – it’s assertive, aggressive, and fully Soviet.  I give this brew an A.  A necessity for any winter storm.

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