How much longer will it be till we cross
that Mason Dixon Line?
At daylight would ya tell that engineer
to slow it down?
Or better still, just stop the train,
Cause I wanna look around.
Deschutes Black Butte XXIII: The label says this was brewed with zest from Spanish oranges, chocolate nibs, Pasilla Negra chilies, and is partially aged in Bourbon barrels. All of those flavors and aromas were quite prominent, along with some coffee as well. The 11% ABV was barely noticeable with all of those competing flavor elements. I drank about 3/4 of my share of this bottle, enjoying every sip, then set my glass aside to do some cooking, and came back to it about 45 minutes later. Those last few sips were several orders of magnitude better than my first exposure to this beer, which was already excellent. That shows that a beer like this needs to breathe a bit before you jump into it. Outstanding beer, 7.5/10 at first contact, and 8.5/10 after it had a chance to breathe.
Laughing Dog The Dogfather Imperial Stout: After initially tasting like bitter coffee grounds, this developed an astringent aftertaste that was like drinking witch-hazel. I am a fan of Laughing Dog (Hey, they combine beer and dogs, two of my top five things) but this beer was just lousy, 3/10.
Jason Fields, Kevin Shepard, Stone Brewing, And Troegs Brewing Chocolate Cherry Stout: Cherry and chocolate are two flavors that are meant to be
together. I love chocolate covered cherries, even the cheap drugstore version, and Cherry Garcia is my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor, so I was excited to see this collaboration between some homebrewers, plus Stone Brewing and Troegs Brewing. (Follow this link for the collaboration back story). I should have known this was too good to be true. It poured a deep opaque black, with robust dark chocolate and cherry aromas immediately noticeable. I took a sip and thought “this tastes like a chocolatey Robitussin.” About halfway through the glass, I thought “this tastes like a chocolatey Robitussin with a touch of grain alcohol.” On the last sip, I thought “this tastes like a chocolatey Robitussin with a touch of grain alcohol and a shot of Maraschino Cherry Syrup.” I finished it, but I did not enjoy it, 3.5/10.
Real Ale 15th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: This pours a deep, rich dark black, with delicious roasted chocolate malts and a hint of cherry in the background. This how to make a beer with both chocolate and cherry notes. Lots of hops in here balance the malty richness of this beer, and the combination serves to hide the 9.8% ABV well. It is a remarkably smooth beer, given all of the flavors at play and the relatively high alcohol content. I loved this beer, 9/10, and wish I had snagged a few bottles to lay down for aging.