Posts Tagged ‘stout’

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Brewery’s Dry Irish Stout

January 25, 2013

The beer I enjoy often depends on the season.  In the summer I like a good IPA, in the fall I tend towards a nut brown ale to a porter, but my favorite time of year for beer is winter, when I can enjoy a nice stout in front of a roaring fire.  Brooklyn Brewery read my mind recently and sent me samples of their Dry Irish Stout.  Thank you, Brooklyn folks!

About the beer
From the Brooklyn website:

Brooklyn Irish Stout is brewed the old-fashioned way, without the nitrogen addition. A large portion of the grain is roasted like coffee beans, developing the typical color and flavor of this beer. Aside from British pale malts, the beer includes caramel malts, black patent malt, unmalted black barley and a proportion of flaked raw barley, which helps the beer develop a beautiful, thick natural head. The famous East Kent Golding hop lends to the earthy aroma. The beer is neither filtered, nor fined and has a light, brisk carbonation. The blend of grains gives the beer an espresso-like bite, followed by coffee and chocolate flavors.

The Pour
This poured a dark brown with red undertones.  A beautiful tan head, one finger thick, topped off the beer, leaving decent lacing on the glass.

The Nose
This beer has one great nose.  Chocolatey, earthy and slightly hoppy, with lots of great roasted malt.  Just a complex, tasty nose.  You almost want to just keep inhaling its bouquet, but it’s so alluring you just have to taste it.

The Taste
The nose definitely alludes to the flavors to come.  At first this beer is very carbonated, moreso than I expect from a stout.  There are light chocolatey flavors there, released by the effervescence.  You quickly realize it is a dry beer, but one that carries a minor level of sweetness with it.  As the beer warms, more earthy flavors come out, almost a peat note that is most fitting with an Irish stout.  I realized after a couple of tastings of the beer that the chocolate and earthy flavors linger on the palate for some time, which is a good experience.  There is a lot of complexity here to be deciphered and enjoyed.

Scoring Breakdown

Appearance: Attractive beer, I like that it’s not pitch black but has some hint of color. 9 points out of 10

Nose: Very good nose, very interesting and representative, but leaving some things to the imagination. 14 out of 15

Taste: Good complexity and depth of flavor, good stout flavors, but in probably the most drinkable stout I’ve had. 48 out of 55

Style: Very appropriate representation of the style.  18 out of 20

Total rating: 89 points out of 100.

In a nutshell: A lot of people shy away from stouts because they see them as heavy and weighty, and not at all something to enjoy casually with friends, but this definitely puts those misconceptions to rest.  This is a great beer if you still want to enjoy a nice roasty beer for winter but don’t want to feel sluggish and full after a couple of beers.  Very tasty and complex.

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

March 29, 2012

Ahhh, Brooklyn Brewerybrooklyn black chocolate stout…one of my favorite breweries right now.  Their beers, or the ones I have tried thus far, seem to be consistently of high quality and quite tasty.  It’s hard to find a brewery that consistently good.  According to Brooklyn, Black Chocolate Stout is their award-winning rendition of the Imperial Stout style, once made exclusively for Catherine the Great. (The style, that is…I don’t think Brooklyn Brewery has existed since Catherine the Great’s time ;) ).  According to the fact sheet that accompanied the beer, they, “use three mashes to brew each batch of this beer, achieving a luscious deep dark chocolate flavor through a blend of specially roasted malts.”

The beer is brewed using American two-row pale malt, caramel malt, malted wheat and a blend of American roasted malts and barleys.  Willamette and American Fuggle hops are also part of this elixir.  This beer weighs in at a hefty 10% ABV.

The Pour
This beer practically oozes out of the bottle, a thick, syrupy black beer with a thin coffee-with-cream colored head sitting weakly atop the stoutness of this brew.  Coming out of the bottle, it almost resembles thick chocolate syrup.

The Nose
This smells, to me, pretty much the way I like a stout to smell.  Chocolate, dark dried fruit, wood and smoke all mingle together to tell you, “Yep, you’re drinking a stout. Throw another log on the fire, sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience.”

The Taste
With a thick and viscous mouthfeel, the tastes of wood, smoke, chocolate and roasted malt want to coat the palette and linger for the winter, but a pretty dry finish comes along and prepares you for the next mouthful.  There is more of a bitterness to this than I expected, which to my mind makes it a good middle ground where a drier stout meets a sweeter stout and both win in their own way.

Scoring Breakdown

Appearance: A nice dark, thick pour with a nicely colored head, though it doesn’t last. 8 points out of 10

Nose: As expected, a strong nose with good stout characteristics. 13 out of 15

Taste: Good dark stout flavor profile but with a bitterness that positions it as a good compromise between a drier stout and a sweeter stout. 45 out of 55

Style: This fits the Imperial Stout style to a T.  Perfect example of the style. 20 out of 20

Total rating: 86 points out of 100.

In a nutshell: A great beer to sit in front of a fire with, to let the smoke and wood of the fire mingle with the smoke and wood in the flavor profile.

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Beer Review: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Stout

January 30, 2010

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Stout

It’s awfully cold here in Middle Tennessee, and the roads are pretty near impassable in places, thanks to the ice and snow we received in the last 36 hours. It’s a great time for a stout! Unfortunately, I don’t think I have any stouts on hand to enjoy, so instead I thought I would post a review of one I’ve tried recently: Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy Stout.

About the Brewer

Great canned beer? The term has been an oxymoron for craft beer lovers used to getting their full-flavored beers from bottles only. But in November of 2002, Oskar Blues Brewery (in tiny Lyons, Colorado, pop.1400) changed that by launching its “Canned Beer Apocalypse.” More: Beer Review: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Stout

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Beer Review: Guinness Draught

January 22, 2010

Guinness - blechI’ve been reviewing beers with this blog since January 2007 (3 years now….wow!) and oddly enough, I have never reviewed Guinness Draught.  That changes tonight.  Now, I first tried Guinness years ago, when I began experimenting with different beers.  I tried it, and….how can I put this delicately….I hated it!

Well, I hadn’t touched a Guinness since, until Mrs. Beer Snob decided to make beef and Guinness pie, and I had some leftover cans of Guinness Draught.  Naturally I thought it would be great to do a review of it. More: Beer Review: Guinness Draught

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Beer Review: Schlafly Coffee Stout

March 31, 2009

I love my stouts….there’s nothing like a nice stout in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s day. The smoke of a wood fire complements very well the roasted malt, chocolate and coffee flavors of a good stout. So when I saw Schlafly Coffee Stout at the store, I was eager to give it a try. According to the bottle, “this oatmeal stout with natural flavor added uses locally roasted Kaldi’s coffee.” Let’s give this a try.

The Pour
My usual pour (the first half poured gently in a 45-degree glass, the other half poured vigorously into a glass straight up and down) gives the beer a two finger thick head that is beige in color and consists of dense pillowy foam. It dissipates relatively quickly, leaving a small bit of lacing on the glass. This is a very dark brown brew, with very faint tinges of red noticeable at the very narrowest part of the pint glass, where a tiny bit of light can peek through. This looks quite thick and full-bodied. After a couple of bottles, I noticed some floating particles at the bottom of the glass. Leftover coffee grounds from the brewing process? I’m not sure.

The Nose
There is definitely an oatmeal stout nose present, but with good coffee notes as well. Smells like a glass of freshly ground coffee beans. It has a good roasted scent and a very slight touch of sweetness, like hints of brown sugar or, more closely, molasses.

The Taste
My first taste was overpowering with coffee. It tasted like I was chewing up a bunch of espresso beans, then swigging from an oatmeal stout. It soon mellows, though, and the oatmeal stout flavor and the coffee flavors grow to balance each other. This is a full-bodied brew and starts off quite carbonated, but it mellows somewhat as it warms.

Overall
This is probably not something I’ll pick up quite often but it was definitely interesting. It ended up being better than I thought from my initial sip, but I prefer my stouts to have more subtle coffee flavors. I prefer the depth and character some stouts bring to the table, with a revolving cast of flavors from roasted malt to chocolate to caramel to hints of coffee. This coffee stout really kind of hits you over the head to remind you it is a coffee stout. It’s an aggressive beer, in the way some Rogue brews are aggressive in their flavors.

Recommended: If you like stouts but wish they tasted a LOT more like fresh espresso beans, sure!

Price: $8.29 / 6-pack

ABV: 5.7%

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Beer Review: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

January 6, 2009

Goose Island was kind enough to send me a sample of their Bourbon County Stout, and I am finally getting around to reviewing it. Goose Island: so sorry for the delay. I truly appreciate each brewery that sends me a beer to review. I’ve just had a hard time finding the time to review lately.

Goose Island is a brewery out of the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois. According to the press release they sent me with the beer (which was packaged in a recyclable and reusable tin container and packed with recycled and recyclable Prairie Eco Pack inside a 100% post consumer recycled box):

Goose Island Brewing Company has been celebrating the annual release of its Bourbon County Stout since it was first created 16 years ago by brewmaster Greg Hall to commemorate the 1000th batch at the original Chicago brewpub…

Apparently this beer was aged for 10 months in 16-year-old bourbon barrels. The press release describes this as “dark and dense”, and with a flavor so intense, “only the most decadent chocolate dessert can stand up to it”.

The Pour
On the pour you can tell this is one thick, thick beer. It pours like a fine motor oil, black and thick and clinging to the glass. There is very little head to speak of, but what is there is caramel brown. The beer is absolutely opaque. As a matter of fact, it looks pitch black.

The Nose
There are definitely roasted malt and deep dark fruit aromas here as well as chocolate and coffee notes. There are hints of bourbon as well. This smells like it will be one strong thick brew, not for the faint of heart!

The Taste
This seems actually thicker than you anticipate, which is difficult to accomplish. The higher alcohol content is definitely noticeable, but it does not distract from the overall flavor profile. You can taste the roasted malt and the oak of the bourbon barrel, and chocolate and coffee notes are there as well in varying degrees that seem to change with each taste. Overall the flavor is intense!

Overall
This beer is one very well suited for aging, and I would definitely like to try this after it ages a couple of years. It’s a little too thick for my tastes, but it is a unique and interesting beer. It would probably be fantastic after aging a while. Something to be savored, as a fine wine.

Recommended: If you’re after a thick, intensely nuanced beer, absolutely. Definitely something to try now and to age, to compare the flavors as they mellow.

Price: This was a sample sent by the brewery/PR folks.

ABV: 13% ABV according to the press release

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Beer Review: Highland Brewing Company’s Black Mocha Stout

February 22, 2008

blackmocha.jpgWith it being fairly cold outside, my tastes naturally turn towards stouts and porters. This time around I decided to go for Highland Brewing Co.s Black Mocha Porter. I would have loved to have had this outside, in front of my outdoor fireplace, but that would have made it hard to write my tasting notes, now wouldn’t it?

Instead I tried this as I waited for my coconut crusted tilapia with mango and papaya (courtesy of Kroger) to cook.

Here’s what the packaging says about this brew:

Highland’s most robust beer, having a very malty body with a large, roasted chocolate flavor, all achieved solely through the use of special roasted barley grains. It is black in color with a very clean finish and a moderate hop flavor.

The Pour
This poured very dark, really basically black but with reddish tinges around the edges of my pint glass. A vigorous pour results in a nice pillowy mocha-colored head that leaves just a touch of lacing on the glass.

The Nose
There are very nice chocolate notes on the nose, and hints of the roasted goodness to come. It really smells terrific, like a Riesen’s candy or a high-end tootsie roll.

The Taste
This has a nice full body. The chocolate is not that noticeable really, but the roasted flavor is quite strong and wonderful! There is a good amount of carbonation, not too much, and the mouthfeel is , to me, a little thick and oily, in a very good way.

Overall
Highland Brewing Co. seems to produce good products, but I was still surprised at just how good this beer really was. With every swallow I thought, “This is one good beer!” The roasted flavor is terrific and it really just works for me. Excellent brew!
Recommended: Absolutely. I am enchanted with this beer. Terrific stout flavors.

Price: $9.99/6-pack

ABV: 5.3%

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Beer Review: Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout

July 6, 2007

ydcs.jpgI decided yesterday that it was time for a new beer review. I had intended to go pick up a jug of Mississippi Mud, but I got to the store and they had none. I don’t know if it’s no longer available or that store just doesn’t sell it anymore. Instead I decided a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout sounded good, so I brought home a bottle and chilled it. The anticipation was killing me as it cooled in the dark confines of the fridge, nestled among the milk and the orange juice.

I’ve had this beer many times and is actually one of my favorites, but I thought I’d review it and share it with my fellow beer snobs.

Young’s is a brewery based in England, and according to their Web site they have been brewing beer since 1581! I’ve tried several of their brews, and you almost can’t go wrong with anything they brew. I say “almost” because I tried their Waggledance beer once, which is a honey beer. I don’t generally like honey beers.

Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout is touted on their bottle as being a dark ale with natural chocolate flavor added. The bottle also says:

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout has an intriguing twist. Chocolate malt and real dark chocolate are combined with Young’s award-winning rich, full flavored dark ale to craft a satisfyingly indulgent, but never overly sweet experience.

I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description. Anyway, on to the review.

The Pour
I cracked open this nectar of the stout gods and poured it into a nice pint glass, giving it just enough speed at the end to raise a nice thick, rich and fluffy dark tan head with dense bubbles. The head dissipated slowly with very slight lacing. When drinking the beer though, the head left some good lacing on the side of the glass.

The ale itself was basically pitch black, or a brown as close to pitch black as possible, and basically opaque. I couldn’t see more than the slightest tiniest hint of light shining through.

The Nose
The nose is a wonderful dark chocolate bouquet. There are hints of coffee and licorice in the nose as well. It smells very full bodied….almost chewy. It smells like heaven.

The Taste
There’s much more coffee in the taste than in the nose. There is still dark chocolate evident, but it’s more noticeable in the finish. This is quite smooth with a good amount of body (on the heavy side of medium). The beer coats your mouth with coffee, chocolate and malty goodness. As it warms, the coffee and dark chocolate flavors sort of meld together and become one new flavor….almost a dark chocolate mocha.

In Summary
Overall, this is a terrific example of a stout, even though it’s flavored with real dark chocolate. Stouts are generally wonderful mixtures of coffee and chocolate flavors anyway. This brew just takes those flavor profiles to another level.

I drank this in early July, but it is best in late fall or winter, preferably sitting in front of a wood fire. This is definitely not a session beer, but something to be sipped and sniffed and savored.

Incidentally, I once spoke with a beer seller at one of my usual haunts who told me there was a couple who would come in and buy Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and a Cherry Lambic. Apparently they would, for dessert, mix the two. I suppose it was like drinking a chocolate covered cherry. I may try that some time.

Recommended: Absolutely, without question, YES!
Price: $3.99 for basically a pint
ABV: 5.2%

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