Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stout: A Style So Nice, I'll Review it Twice

Christmas may be over, but that doesn't mean the sales are! For a limited time only, you get two reviews for the price of one!

(Sorry it's been a while since the last posting: Christmas and a cold bug kind of derailed my reviewing for a couple weeks - hope the holidays were good to you!)

Review the First:

Beer: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery (NY, NY)
Type: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%

This is my first beer from Brooklyn brewery, one of the very few brewers still operating in New York City proper. Very popular in the northeastern US, but hard to find up here. When I saw it at the LCBO, I snapped up the few bottles (shortly after which, my car battery died and I had to call for a tow, but that's another story). After a rough evening, this was a welcome brew.

Poured an inky black, with just under an inch of khaki-coloured head. Lots of lacing, and the thin layer of head managed to retain for much of the way through. Good stuff.

The smell was certainly 'black': black coffee, dark chocolate, dark roasted malts. Had a good nose to it, easy to identify the flavours, despite fighting the lingering effects of my traditional New Year's cold.

The dark flavours hit me initially, followed by a strong taste of warming alcohol. It's -15 outside, so the liquor is much appreciated. Almost too strong for the brew's own good, but it does the trick. Russian Imperials are a notoriously strong beer style, so they normally pack a whollop.

A thick, viscous, almost chewy mouthfeel, with slightly stingy carbonation.

Pretty happy with this pickup. I'll keep a few of the remaining bottles in the cellar to age for a few months, and we'll see what happens. All in all, a solid offering from Brooklyn (it's their most popular offering at beeradvocate as well); I'm certainly looking forward to sampling some more from this brewer. (Grade: A-)


Beer: St. Peter's Cream Stout
Brewery: St. Peter's (Suffolk)
Type: milk/cream stout
ABV: 6.5%

Milk stouts are typically a bit sweeter than regular dry stouts, and that's because the brewer will often add extra sugars (usually lactose) to the batch to smooth out the flavour. I've frequently passed by St. Peter's bottles in the LCBO, and I'm not sure why I did.

Pours, like most stouts, a nearly black colour, with a little bit of brown near the edges. A thin, tan head, that didn't stick around for very long, leaving only a thin ring. A bit of lacing.

The nose is of the same roasted malts, chocolate and coffee, but a bit more muted than the Brooklyn, probably a result of the added sugars. I get the faintest hint of butter in the nose as well.

The nose belies the somewhat bitter taste to this brew. The chocolate flavour is similar to a 70% or-higher-cocoa chocolate bar, and the coffee taste is quite bold. The creaminess isn't found until the end, but it does the trick; the milk/butter flavour was appreciated after such a bold entry.

The body is a bit thin, but the carbonation is at medium levels, which is about right for a stout of this variety.

All in all, a tasty little stout. Not my favorite of the style, mind you (that honor goes to Young's Double Chocolate Stout, which graces a position in my ultimate top 10 list), but still a very enjoyable drink. The cream flavour eased what could have been an oppressively bitter stout, and made for a satisfying finish. Well worth a pick up. (Grade: B+)

No comments:

Post a Comment