On Saturday we were over at our friends Paul and Sandi’s house for a beer tasting extravaganza: they had a stockpile of high-alcohol, specialty beers and we sampled a good number of them. One of the highlights that Paul wanted to make sure I blogged about was a special bottle from Alaska’s Midnight Sun Brewing: Berserker Imperial Stout.
This is an Imperial Stout brewed with maple syrup and molasses, and aged in oak bourbon barrels (according to the label), and it’s a whopping 12.7% abv. Midnight Sun says:
Vicious and viscous, this menacing brew pours opaque black with a creamy maduro-colored head. Its aroma offers seductive whiskey, chewy red wine, dark fruit and lavish tobacco. Berserker Imperial Stout invades your taste buds with in-your-face flavor. Weighing in at almost 13% alcohol by volume, Berserker is completely out-of-control. Give it a good fight.
This is one of those big stouts that pours opaque black with a minimal head that burns off quickly from the alcohol—plus it’s not terribly carbonated but that’s appropriate as this is purely a sipping beer.
Instead of the typical review notes I take, I just wrote down impressions as I was sipping this beer. (Similar to how the Brother Alstrom do their capsule review in BeerAdvocate magazine.)
On the nose, I get sweet, thick, dark fruit, molasses, syrup, dark chocolate, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, vanilla, char, hints of cocoa.
Taste: Roasty, strong, bourbon, burnt wood, fruits—prunes, dark plums, raisins, dates—smokey, molasses, vanilla/charred wood sugars, alcohol heat, boozy, hints of coffee.
It’s thinner than you would expect for an Imperial Stout where you’re normally looking for chewy, ticket mouthfeel; I wonder if the higher alcohol thins it out? Regardless, it’s a big bold expression of a beer, full of character and definitely one you want to enjoy slowly.