This week, I’ve got three strong beers for my Tuesday Tastings reviews, fitting since we’re solidly into winter and strong, warming brews are what you want to drink on those chilly days. I’m even going international, with a beer from Canada.
This is the 9% abv Imperial Stout from San Diego-area Coronado’s Crown Series that they sent me recently, their fall seasonal that gets released on draft and in 22-ounce bottles. I’m not sure how they came up with “Stupid” Stout for the name, perhaps as slang for “good”? Or if you drink too much too fast, that’s how you feel?
This deep, dark, viscous brew stands up to other imperial stouts as well as the test of time, delivering defined, robust, chocolaty notes with a hint of hop freshness. As this beer ages, those big flavors mellow, leaving behind a smooth, balanced sipper. It’s the perfect beer to warm up with as winter cold sets in, or as part of a vertical tasting session many years from now.
Appearance: Nice dark brown-to-black pour, opaque, with chocolate head that’s fluffy and looks very rich.
Smell: Dark, bittersweet chocolate, freshly ground dark roast coffee, caramelized sugar, molasses. Hints of charred wood, an almost smoky note. Vinous.
Taste: Alternating between boozy notes and roasty malts with black patent malt. Nice flavors of hard-cooked caramel with a bit of molasses tang, tempered by burnt sugar. Still a bit “hot” but for that it does not drink like a 9% beer.
Mouthfeel: A bit shy of full-bodied, lightened up by the alcohol I think. Dry finish.
Overall: Really quite a nice drinker, deftly mellow when it could go over harsh.
Central City Brewing is located in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, and for their tenth anniversary they brewed (and barrel aged) and Imperial Porter that weighs in at 9% abv. I’d picked this up in Southern California in September, it was a great price for a 9% bourbon barrel aged beer, and had hung on to it for a couple of months before opening. Central City’s website says, “Deep aromas of roasted malts and bakers chocolate combine with a silky full body, leaving you wanting more.”
Unfortunately, this was not a win; something had infected this beer at some point. But I’m including it in my reviews in case anyone else has the same experience.
Appearance: Dark brown, cloudy, with a tan head that keeps rising over the rim of the glass—which immediately makes me say, “Uh oh.”
Smell: Slightly sweet, overripe fruit aroma. Rotty? A bit of bourbon-y vanilla along with some roasted malt astringency.
Taste: There is definitely something off here—maybe a bug from the barrel(s). It has more of that rotting fruit sweetness impression, some roast, and something almost—moldy. Touch of boozy heat.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full-bodied, bit of a dry finish.
Overall: Ick, who knows? The rotting fruit character puts me off.
Deschutes Brewery Doppel Dinkel Bock
This beer goes back a ways, to July of 2014 when I first received a bottle from the brewery. This was the third beer in Deschutes’ “Conflux” collaboration series, a spelt malt Doppelbock that they brewed with the Distelhauser brewery out of Germany. (You can view a bit about it here.) This beer is a whopping 10.7% alcohol by volume, and yes—I’d been sitting on it for a year and a half before drinking it.
Now, you’d think that would be perhaps too long a time to write a review for a beer that came out 18 months ago, however I’ve recently seen bottles of Doppel Dinkel Bock (still) for sale at Costco here in Bend so I figure that’s fair. And incidentally, “Dinkel” means “spelt” in German, and spelt itself is an ancient variety of wheat. So think “Doppel(wheat)bock” amped up to Wheatwine-level strength.
Appearance: Bright brown, the color of bottle glass. Clear, with a minimal head that started out light brown before fading.
Smell: Bubblegum and banana esters along with some sweet, bready notes. Hint of green apple. Mild overall.
Taste: Rich, caramelly, and very “Bavarian Wheat” with lots of estery banana character. Crusty dark bread, rye spiciness and grainy, with a back of the mouth cloyingly sweet syrupy character that somehow smooths way out.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, very smooth, with a wheat-spicy/banana aftertaste.
Overall: Super drinkable, belying the 10.7%! Tasty but goes sweet, sweeter than to my normal taste.