What I drank in the dead heat of summer

Stone Russian Imperial Stout  10.5%

Had this beer over at Beau’s house for a impromptu Sunday tasting.  For the price, $6-$8, Stone’s bombers are very hard to beat.  The fact that I can buy a great Imperial Stout or Barleywine for half the price of most is awesome.  I bought a couple bottles of this to age in my cellar, but I had yet to taste it (Beau was in the same situation) so we cracked this one open.  The beer is fairly young since it was released on May 31st, 2011.  Here are Stone’s tasting notes on their RIS:

Appearance: The beer pours black with a deep tan head of foam.

Aroma:The aroma is a blend of classic roasted malt flavors: coffee and cocoa, with a yeasty breadiness and hints of anise, fruit, and hops.

Taste: The taste is all about malt, with the coffee and dark roasted malt flavors in the forefront. There’s a subtle yeastiness mid-palate and the hops are present at the back end.

Palate: The palate is full bodied and very smooth without being sweet. The alcohol is subtle, but present, and should mellow over time

Good roast characteristics on this one with roasted malts covering up the normal cocoa and coffee taste you get with most RISs.  Since it’s young, kinda thin mouthful to the beer but very creamy and smooth.  Some bitterness that sticks to the tongue after the beer fades, but mostly roast dominates this beer.  With age, the roast may lay down a bit, but if you like roast…drink it now.  I like mine like chocolate covered expresso beans.

     3.5 of 5 barrels

Berkshire Brewing Company Russian Imperial Stout  8.5% ABV

Brought back from Massachusetts when we went home for our Mass. Wedding Reception (I got a little tipsy there, least I gave the speech while I was still a few beers in…thanks again Ron if you read this!).  As I’ve stated before, Berkshire is one of my favorite breweries and they never cease to amaze me with their quality beers.

Very little head and a thin mouth on this RIS.  The nose is full of raisins, dark chocolate, and some toffee.  A very nice sweet taste of dark chocolate and raisins crawl over the tongue with each sip.  Not a very boozy or sticky RIS, but like the Stone RIS above, this one was young and bottled in early 2011.  Overall, pretty quality with how young it was.

     4 of 5 barrels

Allagash Black Belgian Style Stout  7.5% ABV

Another beer brought back from Massachusetts after a confusion on Massachusetts liquor laws that led us driving to the closes booze place in New Hampshire.  Drank this with Beau as well.

Another roast bomb.  Just give me damn burnt coffee grounds to chew on for a bit.  The use of Belgian yeast made for a very thin mouthfeel.  Not a big fan of that along with the roast.  The only pleasant thing about the beer was the dark chocolate taste up front before the finish of roast.  Blech.

   2 of 5 barrels  

Southern Tier Mokah  11.2& ABV

Had this with Ashley at the Holy Grale after a long weekend of kitchen remodeling.  I’ll be honest and since Southern Tier has came to the Kentucky market, they really haven’t impressed me to much.  I do realize I had Oak-Aged Unearthly IPA right when I was on the brink of being sick, but their beers just haven’t appealed to me.  I decided to leave my avoidance at the door of the Grale and give them a chance.  Here is how Southern Tier describes it:

“It is through similar cooperation that the simple bitter cocoa bean is transformed into a sweet treat. As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with – or as – your favorite dessert!”

Holy Moses. Holy friggin Moses.  Ashley described it as a Chocolate Tootsie pop.  One of the best smelling and tasting stouts I’ve had in awhile.  Warning, if you don’t like cocoa and sweetness…this beer isn’t for you.  The aroma reminds me of taking a huge whiff of cocoa powder.  Chocolate is all over the nose like a 5-year-old eating a Hersheys candy bar.  This beer alongside German Chocolate Cake would make me go into shock.  The taste is an intense sugary cocoa paired with coffee notes. I heart sugar.  You’ve fooled me Southern Tier, maybe.

     4.75 of 5 barrels

Brooklyn Concoction 7.6% ABV

I first read about this beer on beernews.org when they had to change it’s name from The Tonic to Concoction. This was the beer I had at the Grale before Mokah, had to warm the pallet up I guess.  The beer was actually made reflecting the Scotch-based cocktail called the Penicillion.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 ounces blended scotch (I used Famous Grouse)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce ginger-honey syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Islay scotch (I used Laphroaig)

Combine blended scotch, lemon juice and syrup in a shaker, fill with ice and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and float Islay scotch on top.

For ginger-honey syrup (my recipe; chime in if you use something different): combine 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until well combined. Add an ounce or so of peeled, sliced fresh ginger and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely; strain.

All Daniel had to do at the Grale was pour it from the tap to my glass, simple enough.  No shaking or stiring.  Like the cocktail, lemon and honey fill the nose with a sweet aroma.  The taste almost reminds me of a mead with the over-bearing sweet taste.  Thankfully, scotch wasn’t mixed in with the beer.  Might have made it better though.  It was an OK beer, not something I’d order again though…but good to at least say I tried it.

     3.25 of 5 barrels

Dogfish 120 Minute IPA 15-20% ABV

This beer was probably made with the blood, sweat, and tears of Sam Calagione.  The tears after they had to dump last years batch, which was viewed on the now defunct Brewmasters television show.  Some people love this beer.  Some people obsess over this beer.  Some people think this beer tastes like crap.

I think I had this beer years ago when I was first dabbling in craft beer, but I can’t recall.  I know the last time I had it was at New Albanian’s Gravity Head and both Ashley and I thought it tasted way to boozy.  Granted it was a 2009 version that had sat in the keg, but it didn’t really impress me much, or Shania Twain for that matter.

I actually wrote a post about how I wasn’t going to look for or purchase 120 either.  I thought the price was too much and it didn’t taste as good for me to drop $9 for 12 ounces.  But, alas, my buddy Stephen snagged a few bottles and after arranging and re-arranging meeting times, we finally sat down to dissect what hop-heads dream about (or so I’ve heard).

Pour was a deep orange with minimal head.  Aroma was very fruity with tangerine and oranges, slight alcohol burns the nose when you don’t waft it and smell directly into it (I wasn’t good in Chemistry).  Up front on taste, you get the creamsicle and tangerine flavor which eventually changes to an alcohol booziness.  I was expecting more bitterness to arrive in this beer, but a good amount of sweetness stuck around…think barleywine.  I know Stephen will disagree, but at times I felt like I was drinking cough syrup and not a beer at times.  I’m glad I got to try it, but I think their 90 minute is a more drinkable and balanced offering.

    3 of 5 barrels 

About johnking82

Homebrewer, Runner, Educator.... Giddy as a kid on Christmas about good beer.
This entry was posted in Beer Sampling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What I drank in the dead heat of summer

  1. Talk about bringing the heat! I thought my circle of beer geeks was the only one that enjoyed big imperial stouts and such in the summer months. Those beers reveal some rather interesting flavors when they warm in the summer weather.

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