Skip to main content

Beer Review #241 Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

I’m not a fan of coffee as a hot drink but I do enjoy the occasional iced coffee from time to time. It should come as no surprise that I love coffee beers. Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout from Flying Dog Brewery is a new coffee beer to me and I believe it is my first imperial one. Imperial Stouts tend to be hit or miss in my eyes. Sometimes the heat over powers everything else going on and you also get those beers that are too “dark.” The roasted malt levels become so high that they don’t produce a favorable flavors. When you get an Imperial Stout right, it’s a very nice, magical moment.

Kujo pours a dark, thick, black with a thin tan head. One of my friends refers to beers that pour like this as “sludge from the tap.” This one came from a bottle but you get the idea. The nose has a rich coffee odor that is mixed with some chocolate notes. There is some caramel in there as well which helps add to the richness. I didn’t notice any heat on this one but it did remind me of what an iced coffee and a stout would smell like if mixed. Point Flying Dog.

There are some super roasty notes that appear right off the bat with this one that then go into a healthy dose of caramel. Some bittersweet chocolate mixes in there as well once the sweetness has a chance to fade away. A hint of heat makes an appearance but is quickly masked by coffee notes. The whole flavor progression is very nice and surprisingly smooth. I was worried that the roasted notes at the beginning of the beer would fall victim to the problems I previously talked about but the large amount of sweetness ensured that this did not happen. Coffee does a really nice job of cleaning out this beer as I didn’t get anything on the hop end of this one.

The bottle says a “stout with coffee added.” If it were my label, I would have just put Imperial Coffee Stout in every spot possible as this beer really screams it. It has a large creamy mouthfeel, much like other Imperial Stouts. When drinking this beer I put “rich and loud” at the end of my notes. This beer rocks in at 8.9% so it’s no slouch. With winter coming (insert Game of Thrones joke) I highly suggest this one. (more…)

Beer Review #166 Fuller’s London Porter

The end of fall is usually my favorite time of year to drink porters. The “warm” days (compared to winter) and the cold nights make the humble porter the perfect style of beer for this time of year. Today’s beer comes all the way from Chiswick, London, brewed by the Griffin Brewery. I’m generally cautious of imports as they generally are not cared for properly during their transport, thus resulting in poor beer.

Fullers London Porter pours a nice brown to deep ruby color. There is a medium off-white head that goes along with it. The nose is what I expected from a porter; chocolate, roasty, malty, and hints of coffee. I didn’t get the slightest hint of hops on the nose.

On my first taste I was struck by the amazing balance of this beer. The chocolate, roasty, and bits of coffee that come through on the flavor just blend wonderfully. I really am impressed at the balance the three of these flavors represents. There isn’t one that outshines the others, but each is distinct. The mouthfeel of this beer is creamy, which helps it go down all the better.

This porter comes in at 5.4% so you aren’t going to kill yourself drinking a few of these. I really liked this one and I am already looking forward to my next trip to the beer store to buy more, a rarity for me. This is a pretty common beer so it shouldn’t be too big of a hassle to get. If you haven’t had this one yet, go get it. (more…)

Beer Review #164 Lips of Faith Clutch

In addition to Kick and Super Cru my local beer store had one other Lips of Faith series beer, Clutch. The label proclaimed a “dark sour ale.” Maybe, finally, had I found a sour ale that took me back to Belgium? With a name like New Belgium Brewing Company I sure hoped so. Like the other Lips of Faith beers that I tasted, Clutch is pretty high in the ABV department, racking up an impressive 9%.

Clutch stuck to its promises in terms of appearance, pours a deep, dark brown with a coating of a tan head. The nose has some sour odors, but it was mainly consumed by lots of roasty flavors. I found a good helping of chocolate and coffee in the nose.

On my first taste I picked up the roasty notes from the smell. The chocolate and coffee were present, but I would describe the main flavor components as “super roasty.” I got some slight sour notes at the end, but nothing like what I was hoping for. This beer could have very well been to style as I have never had an “official” dark sour ale before. Overall I would really give this beer a stout-like quality.

Even though this beer wasn’t was sour as I was hoping for doesn’t mean that it was bad. I found it wonderfully full of  flavor and complexity. It was rich in flavor but also nicely balanced. This beer would be enjoyable to a large amount of craft beer drinkers as I think it appeals to an number of different sub-sets of the community.

Beer Review #159 Sam Adams Black and Brew Coffee Stout

I have kind of been climbing the ladder in terms of darkness on this year’s Sam Adams Variety Pack. As the last beer of the pack this is the one that I was looking forward to the most. I have never had a coffee beer from the Boston Beer Company, where I have had other examples from Sam on the previous styles of beer. I suppose the last coffee beer that I had was Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Coffee is such a good ingredient in a porter or stout which is part of the reason I was looking so forward to this beer.

As I’m sure it is no surprise, this beer pours a black color with a tan head. The nose is full of rich coffee flavor with some chocolate tones. I didn’t get any hint of hops or anything other than coffee and chocolate. I think that coffee is one of those odors that covers up everything else in it’s presence. I’m not a coffee drinker, I believe that I have had only one cup in my life, but I love it in beer. Weird.

On my first taste I was happy with the amount of coffee delivered to my taste buds. It was solid, but not overpowering. The chocolate mixes in with the coffee in a very nice way. There is a smooth transition between flavors that I found very enjoyable. Unlike a lot of coffee beers which can give the bitter harshness of normal coffee, this beer was in no way bitter.

I really liked this one, it is certainly another solid beer from Sam Adams. The only thing that kind of bugs me (beer nerd alert) about Sam Adams beers is the vague description on the main logo. This one said “ale with coffee added.” No kidding, coffee in a coffee stout! I know that the neck label gives a lot more detail, but I would like to see a bit more imagination on their end for the main logo. Regardless of the label, this one is a solid coffee beer. (more…)

Beer Review #157 Sam Adams Holiday Porter

Another day, another beer from Boston Beer Company. I recently purchased Sam Adam’s Winter Seasonal pack and in addition to the normal Boston Lager and Winter Lager they had a few other fun seasonal beers. I reviewed their Old Fezziweg early last year, but I haven’t had a chance to partake in their other winter beers. I will spend the remainder of the week taking a look at the other three beers in the variety pack.

Today’s beer is Boston Beer’s Holiday Porter. A porter is a perfect beer for this time of year. They generally are not heavy, but provide some solid malt and roasty character that can warm you up on a cold night. The beer pours a deep ruby color and has a light tan head. The nose is packed with smell. I found lots of caramel and toffee, which was then followed by some coffee notes. There are some slight noble hops in there as well. Finally I found some slight chocolate notes that were really nice.

Just as the nose promised, this beer is complex and deep. There is a lot of rich caramel with some solid chocolate. There is a nice interaction between the hops and malt where the malt leads in, is cut a bit by the hops, but still is a big player. As soon as you think that this beer isn’t going to have a hop kick to balance it out, the dry finish comes in and takes care of any sweetness.

I really liked this one. I am generally not super impressed with porters, but I enjoyed this one greatly. I would love to have this on a blustery November night while sitting with a good book. For such a complex beer, this one also comes off as being simple. It really opens up on each sip. (more…)