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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 #227 Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Today’s beer review may seem like an odd choice, considering that it is summer and that the mercury is already in the mid eighties before noon. It is an odd choice, but I’m also an odd beer drinker. I like have big beers in the summer. I know a lot of people reserve stouts for the fall and winter, but I like them year round. They are one of the few styles that agrees with me all of the time. Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, say that five times fast, is brewed by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I’ve never been a giant Leinenkugel fan, but I do like that they put an a vast array of beer styles and, like Sam Adams, they generally have something new to try each time I visit the beer store.

This imperial stout pours a jet black color with a creamy, but fading tan head. It pretty much fits the mold of every imperial stout that I have ever had appearance wise. The nose has a bit of heat which should be expected for a beer that comes in at 9.5%^ ABV. There are some nice notes of chocolate and roast in there was well. According to the bottle this beer was brewed with 11 different malts and 3 different hops. I didn’t get any hops in the nose and I was surprised at how many malts go into this one. As a homebrewer I’m a fan of KISS, and keeping my malt bill as simple as possible. I find that my beers tend to get a bit “muddy” tasting when I use to many ingredients. I was really looking forward to trying this one to see if my own bias was correct or not.

The first thing you notice when tasting this beer is a good helping of chocolate and roasty flavors. There is some heat that falls into the beer about halfway through. A spicy hop character then enters and finishes out the beer on the backend. I didn’t notice any particular muddiness to this one and it tasted along the lines of most imperial stouts that I have had. I didn’t get any caramels or strong sweetness that I was expecting and the hops were toned down to reflect this lack of sweetness. Also, like most imperial stouts that I have had, this one is thick and creamy in the moutfeel department.

Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is pretty decent and smooth. For a style that is really open to interpretation, this one sits on the tamer end of things. I found it to be presentable but not aggressive in any particular area. I would be trilled to brew something like this and I think this beer is a great introduction to what a Russian imperial stout should be. (more…)

Beer Review #179 Dark Intrigue

It is time for the long awaited Dark Intrigue beer review. If you remember I had to wait in line for three hours in order to secure a few bottles of this beer. More on that in a coming post. Dark Intrigue is brewed by Victory Brewing Company of Downingtown, PA and is a bourbon barrel aged version of Storm King Stout (which is wonderful). This is the second, and reportedly, last batch that they will ever do of this beer do to its intense space requirements. Somehow I think we will see this beer again at some point in the not too distant future.

The bottle reads, “malt beverage aged in bourbon barrels,” and it has a recommendation of aging for up to five years as well. Clearly I didn’t give it much time to age at all. Dark Intrigue pours a chocolaty black color and has a deep, dark tan head. The nose is decidedly bourbon with some heat mixed in. There are some bits of roasted malt as well. I didn’t get any hops as I think they were wiped out by the bourbon.

On my first taste I was greeted with a rich and complex mix of flavors. To begin with there is chocolate and roasted flavors up front. The malt tastes are then pushed out by lots of bourbon and heat. There is some slight vanilla in there as well. While I didn’t get any hops in the nose, they are there in the taste, but only just enough to balance out the malt a bit. They did provide a nice spiciness that brings a much needed break from malt, bourbon, and heat. This beer is very thick and creamy and improves as it warms.

Victory really came up with a very complex beer here. It is a big high in the heat department but I imagine that aging this beer for a period long than what I did would eliminate those flavors. I really wish that I had another few bottles to put away to see how the beer changes over time. If you were one of the lucky few to get this beer, enjoy it while you have it, you are in for a treat. (more…)

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…)

It’s International Stout Day!

As if you needed another reason to drink good beer, today is International Stout Day. Why have an International Stout Day? Why not? This is the first year that this is happening and I hope that it is a success. There is nothing like a solid stout to make a beer drinker happy. My stouts are going to be coming from Sam Adams (Boston Beer) where I plan on having their Imperial Stout as well as the coffee stout that came in the Winter Variety Pack this year. Are you drinking anything special?