This post is in direct response to Andy Crouch’s article “The Futility of Beer Styles” in this month’s (October 2013) Beer Advocate magazine [Edit: Andy has made me aware that this was only part 1 of 3 and these concerns will be addressed in future parts. A fact not mentioned in the magazine]. If you haven’t read it yet then I won’t fault you for reading it before continuing this post. However, if you don’t get Beer Advocate magazine or don’t want to wait then the quick summary is that he advocates for discontinuing the use of beer styles.
Tag Archives: Stout
After my recent post on Victory’s Storm King imperial stout the comments on reddit brought to my attention a delicious idea I’d never heard before. Turns out that at the Victory brewery you can order a beer called a Silverback, now you won’t find this on any store shelves, it’s a mixture of half Victory Golden Monkey and half Victory Storm King. The white head from the Monkey on top of the black body from the Storm King give this brew it’s Silverback name. I’ve had a black and tan before, Guinness stout & Bass pale ale, and quite enjoyed them. However I have no idea what to expect from a stout and a Belgian tripel except for one thing; both of these beers are over 9%,so I will be drunk!
I poured the Golden Monkey first and ended up using a bit more then half of that before I got to the Storm King. I’d read that this didn’t separate this well like Black & Tans so I tried a trick and poured the Storm King on a spoon over the Monkey, as you’ll see it didn’t layer well either.
Very interesting appearance for sure. Kind of a dark brown or purple color beverage with a milky white head with streams of brown from the Storm King.
Woah, pungent aroma with plenty of roasty malt action as well as some flowery hops. Oh and a strong dose of alcohol.
Taste is curious as well definitely picking more of the stout here then the tripel. Strong malt body and taste with citrus and pineapple hops not found in any other stout I’ve encountered. Hints of chocolate, caramel, orange peel, and lots of “zest”.
Holy carbonation Batman! I’ve had fresh soda flatter than this, man those are some tingly bubbles, all riding atop a smooth medium body.
This has to be one of the most interesting beers I’ve tried. Not nearly my favorite by any means but most interesting for sure, no style has ever come close to this menagerie of taste and flavors. They’re good and all but not great, and that carbonation is a little over powering. This is certainly worth a try just bring a friend to split it with. Remember what’s interesting isn’t always the same as what’s good.
In the beginning of my adventure into stouts I had one of Great Divide’s Oak Aged Yeti bottles and didn’t think too highly of it. With all the other imperial stouts coming out recently I decided to pick up the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and give it my thoughts. First off here is Great Divide’s sales pitch:
CHOCOLATE OAK AGED YETI IMPERIAL STOUT is another revered incarnation of our legendary imperial stout. We toned down the hops a bit to allow cocoa nibs to contribute some pleasing bitterness, while vanilla notes from the oak combine with the cocoa to create an aroma and flavor akin to a gourmet chocolate bar. A dash of cayenne keeps things lively, adding just a bit of heat to the finish. Another great Yeti? Hell yes.
Back in the heady days (of 2 weeks ago) when folks (or just me) were hounding around town trying to track down every last bottle of Founder’s KBS (my review) Josh told me to look for Epic’s Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout. This is a bourbon or whiskey, barrel aged beer just like KBS and from what I’ve been told it has a very similar profile. Luckily though, unlike KBS, it’s much more available much more often. I scored this bottle at Arrow Wine & Liquor up in Centerville and they had 2 more bottles left. Each batch of the Big Bad Baptist is slightly different than the others and this one, batch #10, has the following:
Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout #10
Brewed on August 24, 2012. Packaged November 15, 2012.
This release was aged in both whiskey and bourbon barrels, primarily first-use whiskey casks, and second-use bourbon casks. Additional dark chocolate and fruit flavors mingle with the whiskey and bourbon notes.
Muntons Maris Otter Malt, Briess 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal Muntons, Weyermann Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley
Ibis Coffee (Gayo Mountain Sumatra Dark) and Cocoa Nibs.
Nugget, Chinook, Cascade
Following up last week’s review of Victory HopDevil, their IPA, I’m switching tracks and trying their imperial stout, Storm King. First here’s what Victory says, then on to the review:
Emerging from the deepest shades of darkness, a rolling crescendo of flavors burst forth from this robust stout. The thundering, hoppy appeal of Storm King subsides into the mellow subtleties of roasted malt, exhibiting an espresso-like depth of character in its finish. An exquisite blend of imported malts and whole flower American hops merge harmoniously in this complex ale. Discover the dark intrigue of Storm King, as it reveals the rich, substantial flavors that it holds within.
This week I’m trying two different stouts from a company that mostly makes super hoppy beers and one incredibly rare stout (not one of the two I’m having). For the unfamiliar Three Floyds is a regional brewery in Munster, Indiana which is sadly on the opposite end of Indiana from Cincinnati. Three Floyds (aka 3F aka FFF) mostly produces IPAs and pale ales with lots of extra hops, beers like Zombie Dust, Alpha King, Arctic Panzer Wolf. On the flip side of that is the “legend” of Dark Lord, a Russian imperial stout released 1 day a year in a massive festival known as Dark Lord Day. I say “legend” because Dark Lord is either the greatest stout some people have ever had or an overly sweet soy sauce substitute. Another thing backing that legend is that you can trade it for just about anything online.
Last night I had 3Fs’ Moloko milk stout. Milk stouts (aka sweet stout) are so named because they contain, wait for it… milk! Shocking I know, well actually they contain lactose which is essentially the same thing. So any lactose intolerant folks should avoid milk stouts. What does milk add to a beer? Unfermentable sugars which result in a sweeter taste and creamier bodied brew.
Kentucky Ale, and more recently, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, have been sources of Lexington pride for many years now. In fall 2011 the city was abuzz with the release of Town Branch, the first bourbon produced by the same company. That’s right, Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co doesn’t just make good beer. They are now in the whiskey business and they have the shiny new distillery to go with it. The beautiful new building is the first bourbon distillery to be built in Lexington for 100 years. The facility was opened in fall 2012 and it is already a popular stop on the bourbon trail if the line of people waiting for the 4:00 tour last Saturday was any indication.
Last weekend Charlie and I were lucky enough to get a private tour with Tony, a tour guide and brewer with Alltech, as well as Nate-the-marking-guy who was there to make sure we stayed in line (and just maybe to grab a tasting for himself.) We got a tour of the grounds and then a chance to try all of the spirits that Alltech is currently selling: Town Branch bourbon, Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey, and the Bluegrass Sundown, a coffee infused with bourbon and brown sugar.
I will say that this was one of the better tours that I’ve done. It was the right amount of science, history, and alcoholic lore to make it approachable to the casual drinker as well as enough meat for those who already know a little more. It was also worth noting that they give more of a tasting education than most distilleries. Tony took us in hand and firmly walked us through each step in the tasting, even slightly scolding me when I started to reach for my whiskey too soon, and gave us a lot of guidance on what to look for in the taste. An experienced taster might find the structure a little confining but for the majority of people who are going through the tour I think it would be helpful. The spirits were all presented in a way that makes them more approachable for the casual drinker as well. The whiskey was served with water, the bourbon over ice, and the Sundown was served with hot water and cream.
As with the tour and the tasting experience, the spirits to seem to be aimed at the novice whiskey drinker. Town Branch is not a bad bourbon by any means. The nose was clean and light and it had a taste to match. Very smooth and mellow. Sweet with hints of vanilla and a light finish with very little burn. It is probably not a bottle that I would reach for on a regular basis but at a price point in the mid-twenties you could so worse, especially if you like a smooth drink with minimal heat. Likewise I enjoyed the whiskey but felt that they had favored cleanness and smoothness over flavor and heat a little too much. I was however quite smitten with the Kentucky Sundown. Strongly coffee in flavor with enough bourbon to make it interesting. The addition of the heavy cream made this a decadent after-dinner treat that I look forward to repeating again soon.
After the spirits tasting we got to try the beer, something not normally on the tour, which is a shame because I think beer is really where Alltech shines. I tried their Kols-style beer, the Kentucky Ale, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and their brand new Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout. First I tried their Kols-style beer which was incredibly refreshing. Notes of citrus, smooth, and bubbly it was an almost champagne-like beer. It would be an excellent beer for someone who normally likes wine. I have enjoyed Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in the past but I’d never had the Kentucky Ale and didn’t realize that the two were the same beer. Tasting the pre and post barrel aged versions of the same beer was one of the most interesting aspects of the tour. Both are very well-balanced and easy to drink. Finally, I got to try the coffee-infused Bourbon Barrel Stout. It was too heavy on the coffee for my taste but Charlie really enjoyed it.
If you want to hear more about the experience and listen to Tony talk more knowledgeably about these drinks you can hear the spirits tasting in the drinks segment of Episode 57 of The Charlie Tonic Hour and the beer tasting will in Episode 58.
I do highly recommend checking out the tour at Alltech. They have a beautiful new building and the staff were all super friendly, extremely professional, and very knowledgable. Lexington has so much to offer in the way of history, food, music, and culture and now they have a distillery right in the heart of downtown. What more could any city ask for?
I’ve been slacking on posting reviews for some reason or another so here are 2 reviews I wrote over the past few days. I’ve finished my latest bout of stout/porter action with the strongest 2 of the bunch. Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) comes in at 15% and Blackout comes in at 9%. Both are very well reviewed on rate beer and beer advocate, BCBS is also highly sought after in online trading. Blackout is available at any better beer seller while BCBS is too strong to sell in Ohio and rare enough that you have to ask someone at the Party Source to get it for you from a back room.
After knocking back the standard Guinness Draught and the special Guinness Extra Stout I was excited to finally get a chance to try the Foreign Extra Stout. The Foreign Extra Stout is the highest rated Guinness product on RateBeer.com and is otherwise widely regarded as their best product. This is one of the oldest variants of Guinness available and is basically their extra stout with a kicked up level of hops for export, quite like how Pale Ale became India Pale Ale. I’m pretty psyched for this beer!