Oregon Beer Week: Black Bear XX Stout

Oregon Beer WeekAlameda Brewhouse, in Portland, is another brewery that (like Laurelwood) has recently started bottling their beers. (Or again like Laurelwood, if they’ve been bottling longer, they only just arrived here in Bend.)

Alameda been around since 1996 and aside from producing some funky, notable beers (Burghead Pictish Heather Ale, Spring Rose Doppelbock with rose petals), I really don’t know much about them.

Black Bear XX StoutSo I was excited to find two of their beers available in 22-ounce bottles. I selected their Black Bear XX Stout, not only because it’s a change from the usual run of Pale Ales and (Imperial) IPAs that many breweries are distributing these days, but because it’s a big Great American Beer Festival medal winner: In the Foreign (Export) Style Stout category, it won the gold in 2003 and 2005, and the silver in 2006 and 2008.

It’s 7% alcohol by volume, not huge as these things go, but certainly big enough.

Appearance: Poured black and still, as if there’s almost no carbonation (there was a hiss on opening)—small bit of head that’s dirty brown. Opaque.

Smell: Sweet black licorice and Turkish coffee. Mellow roastiness, a sweetness that reminds me of marshmallow burnt over a campfire.

Taste: Deep black roasted malts and sweet burnt sugar syrup. Very mellow, no astringency, very smooth creamy texture that has a dark chocolate silkiness thing going on. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy and full-bodied, but masks it well.

Overall: Sweet, tasty, extremely well-done stout, deserving of its medals.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of A-. On RateBeer, it scores 3.58 out of 5, and is in their 88th percentile.