Ale Epiteios – Left Coast Brewing Company – SoCal Taster
This barrel-aged Imperial Stout pours jet black with a miniscule, sawdust-colored head, and a nose of coffee, cocoa nibs, and fermented grapes that suggests a red wine-and-chocolate vibe. Instead, blackstrap molasses, black licorice, and bit of booziness hit you on the first sip, and yet the flavors are surprisingly balanced and mild. More cocoa notes come in on subsequent swallows, but the alcohol aftertaste remains while never straining the barrel-wood backbone. Ale Epiteios has a light mouthfeel given the strong dark flavors, and those promised red wine flavors emerge as the brew warms, but I would have appreciated a little less sweetness and a little more complexity.