I know one of the first things I thought about when we bought our house was, “now where can I set up a bar or a place to drink my beer at, possibly watch sports, and relax?”. We are guys, can you honestly blame us? We need our own rooms (or the overly used term now is “man caves”…Mr. King isn’t a big fan of this description) as a place all to ourselves and sometimes the wife as well (as long as she brings good beer to the table and we aren’t playing a team from Boston). With that being said, my buddy Beau had just bought a house and had been trying to organize a tasting for a while. Since everyone’s schedules finally opened up, we made plans to have a Russian Imperial Stout tasting last Sunday (edit, two Sundays ago). Nothing says a day of rest and the start of summer like a dark, sweet, chewy, beer.
Beau, and his buddy Eric, were two of the firsts guys I met who, as I like to say, drink good beer. I started reading their website justdrinkbeer.com and we quickly became friends. We initially talked about combining our beer knowledge and resources in Kentuckiana and creating one website where anything beer related can be found in one place. One website which is a one stop shop for any local beer events, tasting, food pairings, or tap lists can be found in the Louisville and surrounding area. There have been some Facebook sites here intown which have been similar, but they die faster than a male praying mantis with a sex drive. The site is coming, just in the framework stages right now….look for more updates on Derby City Brew.
Big Black Voodoo Daddy- Voodoo Brewing 12.5% ABV
Warning, if you click on the website, you’ll go back to the late 90′s type of website. Beau brought this one to the table from one of his many trades at Dark Lord Day. We all had brought snifters, so a bomber was able to give each guy a sizable portion of the beer. The beer poured a very dark brown, borderline black color. Aroma was oaky with a lot of roast and some burnt chocolate notes as well. Pretty smooth sippin beer with a sizable roast flavor with hints of chocolate and oak (it is aged in oak staves, not bourbon barrels). Slight alcohol burn, but not much. Would love to age the beer and see what happens with it. Overall, great beer to start the night with.
Black Ops- Brooklyn Brewery (2010) 11.6% ABV
Stephen brought this beer along with an Avery Meph (which we didn’t drink). I have two bottles of this sitting in my cellar and was really wanting to taste it since I haven’t cracked one yet. What’s different for this imperial stout is that it uses champagne yeast. The beer not only poured thin, but it tasted extremely thin. Didn’t provide a mouthful like a stout as wall. Beau keyed in on the scent (I think Eric and I were making perverse jokes instead of paying attention to the beer) of bubblegum. The beer smells like Dubble Bubble bubble gum. Vomit, I’m a Big League Chew kinda guy. Little bit of roast and chocolate in the taste, but not much else. Hopefully this gets better with age or I’m trading it off.
One of the beers that I brought (also brought Ten Fidy but just Stephen drank it, greedy ass). I was going to wait and drink it next Christmas, but oh well. The beer pours a nice deep jet black with just a bit of head which leaves pretty quickly. I really enjoyed the smell of the beer. Nice combo of a dark roast, bitter and dark chocolate. Taste is bitter chocolate and coffee with a little bit of boozy sweetness to it. The bitterness sits on the tongue until the next sip. Pretty well-balanced overall and the right type of mouthful you want in an Imperial Stout. I’m definitely going to purchase this one again and age it longer. Port has yet to disappoint me yet…
Coton- The Bruery 14.5% ABV
Brought by Eric. This was the first time I’ve had a beer from the guys over at the Bruery (even though we can get it in Indiana). Here is how the Bruery describes the beer,
“Coton is our second anniversary ale. It is the same recipe as Papier, but created using the Solera method. We blended a portion of Papier that had been aging in oak barrels with this new batch of the same beer, adding an additional layer of complexity that will grow over time as we continue to age and blend with each anniversary, creating an older average age to the ale.“
So not an Imperial Stout, but an English Old Ale (this beer is actually retired). Extremely sweet aroma of darker fruits and brown sugar. Some key notes of an alcohol burn as well. Upon taste, the darker fruits like raisins and figs come out mixed in with some breadiness in the malts. Bourbon and vanilla are evident from the barrel aging as well giving it a nice smooth finish with some notes of alcohol warmth. A pretty complex beer with tastes all over the place. The alcohol becomes more prominent as the beer warms, but I didn’t really give it a chance because I knew another great Impy was on its way. Overall, a very good beer.
Acquired by a trade at Dark Lord Day by Beau. Minneapolis Town Hall doesn’t bottle, so it was in a growler….that was poured in February 2011! Beau explained to me something they did to keep carbonation, but I can’t recall exactly. The beer held its carbonation quite well when we poured it into the four glasses, nice little bit of mocha head. The beer is their Ol’ Jack Frost Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels (see also: Tennessee Garbage) barrels. Of the night, this was by far my favorite beer (even trumping the Dark Lord). Exactly what I want in an RIS, a very sweet combination of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel with a small amount of roast and oak from the barrel aging. The taste was superb. With a few sips, it clearly stood out as the winner in my book. The beer has about every taste you can get out of an imperial stout. Sweet chocolate and vanilla are prominent with notes of bourbon, oak, and a little bit of dry roast. I’m pretty sure I had 2.5 glasses of this. Winner, winner chicken dinner.
I hadn’t expected to, but I was going to lose my Dark Lord virginity tonight. I hope they call me back. I was a bit nervous about my first time, but luckily I had a few drinks in me to allow my tastebuds to loosen up. I had just gotten my two bottles the day before, but chose to save them for a rainy day and the Bourbon Chase tasting. Much thanks to Beau for sharing this bottle with all of us. He was also lucky enough to get a Pappy Van Winkle aged Dark Lord as well, I hope he saves it for a special occasion. One word can describe a 2011 Dark Lord, an overpowering sweet and sugary mouthful (I know, it’s two words). It tasted like milk chocolate and brown sugar with hints of bourbon on the nose. I can compare it to the bottom of a glass of chocolate milk, where all the syrup stays. I will say, the sweetness overpowered the alcohol booziness of the big beer. The beer was very good, but definitely needs to age to mellow out the sweetness and bring about more of the flavors in time.