Archive for the category “Stout”

Black Hand – Speakeasy

BlackHand_bttl6.9% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market in Sacramento ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This milk stout “brewed with cacao nibs” pours an impenetrable ebony with a short, brown head.  Big chocolate cake and heavy cream smells greet the nose upon first sniff, along with a curious mineral scent and a little bit of graham cracker, coffee, and milk chocolate.  The first swallow is dessert-y and delicious, with chocolate and milk mingling on the palette alongside a grassy taste that (if I know my old-guard West Coast breweries…) is probably courtesy of an amped-up hop profile.  The mouthfeel gets milkier on the finish, with flavors of chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, mineral water, and half-and-half also entering the picture.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Speackeasy_BlackHand

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Burnt Fog – Track 7 Brewing Company

7.6% ABV
Purchased at Track 7 Tap Room ($3/8 oz. pour) and served in pint glasses.

This smoked porter pours a murky dark brown-black with a mid-sized, white sand head, and boasts a delectable aroma of pan grease, hickory smoke, and blackened bacon.  True to its name, Burnt Fog is filled with charred and smoky flavors on the first swallow, most notably in the form of burnt leaves, bacon, and mild tobacco.  It remains pretty sweet and drinkable throughout, never too heavy or smoke-choked, with some walnut-like bitterness on the finish.  Track 7 Brewing’s take on the smoked porter doesn’t offer the fleshy flavors of BBQ-ed meats so much as the char, smoke, and grease residuals, with coffee grounds, candied nuts, and English-style malts also making appearances.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

BurntFog_Track7

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Stone Farking Wheaton W00tstout – Stone collaboration with Fark.com and Wil Wheaton

w00tstout-bttlSoCal Beercation Edition

13.0% ABV
Purchased at Fathom Bistro, Bait and Tackle in San Diego ($7/10 oz. pour) and served in tulip glasses.

This collaboration between San Diego kingpins Stone, Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, and actor/homebrewer Wil Wheaton pours ebony with an enormous but quickly dissipating light brown head.  Wood, fresh roasted nuts, cola, and black licorice greet you on the nose, along with a small dose of hard alcohol courtesy of the partial barrel-aging.  The first swallow is a mind-bending mouthful – nuts, coffee, and chocolate on the front end melt into vanilla, wood, and bourbon flavors on the finish.  Only a quarter of this sublime brew was barrel-aged, so you get bourbon notes without any residual alcohol heat.  The lasting impression on the tongue is of nuts, almost certainly due to the addition of pecans.  This is a flat-out brilliant beer – complex yet compulsively drinkable, with a relatively light mouthfeel.  More coffee ground flavors come in as the beer warms, and the beer’s decadent breadiness gives it an overall impression of a boozy pecan pie chased by black licorice.

toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

Woot

toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

Ballast Point – Sextant

6.4% ABV
Purchased at California State Fair ($9/16 oz. bottle) and poured into plastic cups.

His Notes:

This oatmeal stout brewed with copious amounts of Café Calabria coffee pours an impenetrable onyx with an almost nonexistent sand-colored head.  Silky coffee dominates the nose, but it also possesses notes of licorice, plum, and rich loam. Sextant’s strong taste follows suit – nuanced coffee flavors mingle with vanilla bean deserts, and those tastes are offset with earthiness and given depth and creaminess by the addition of oats.  The finish is long-lasting and fairly powerful, but also tasty and well-balanced – coffee is the predominant flavor, along with more vanilla and black licorice.   I imagine this brew would stand up very well to barrel-aging.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4 Toasts

Guinness Draught

4.2% ABV
Purchased at Safeway ($6.99/6-pack of 11.2 oz. bottles) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

The iconic “Pasteurized Stout” from Guinness pours a murky black with a decent-sized tan head.  There are few roasted and toffee notes on the nose, but mostly it’s that strong, apple-flavored malt common to “classic” British brews.  The mouthfeel is more watery than suggested by the dark hue, but it’s well-balanced by mild coffee, toffee, and nut flavors.  Brewed in Dublin since 1759, Guinness Draught is eminently smoothe, drinkable, and creamy session stout (and less sweet then you might think given the smell) but the tepid flavors and overall lack of depth grow fairly tiresome after a while, as does the flat aftertaste.

  3 Toasts

Her Notes:

   3 Toasts


Black and Brew (Samuel Adams)

5.8 ABV
Purchased at Raley’s ($12.99/12-pack) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

Black and Brew is a new edition to Sam Adams’ Winter Classics Variety Pack, and easily the worst of a relatively mediocre bunch.  It pours a murky, black-brown color with a thick, cola fizz-colored head.  Coffee bean aromas dominate, albeit with faint traces of milky chocolate.  Any chocolate on the tongue is completely obliterated by the coffee taste, thanks to the fresh beans directly added during brewing.  There is more coffee than beer on the palette, although it has the faint backbone of an ale (more than a stout, as advertised).  The coffee/beer taste combination leaves a tongue-curling bitterness that isn’t entirely pleasant, although the more beer-like qualities become more evident on the aftertaste.  Black and Brew is drinkable enough, but it barely even attempts to skirt novelty status.

  2 1/2 Toasts

Her Notes:

  2 Toasts


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