The other night I broke into my bunker and pulled out this beer for both cooking and consumption. I was trying a new fusion recipe that didn’t really work out. Suffice it to say that the Irish and the Chinese shouldn’t make food together. Really it was some sort of funky blend of beef and cabbage and onion in a stir fry with a stout sauce. Sounded interesting in theory, but in practice it just didn’t go together. In the future I’ll stick with stew.
So this beer was from 2011. It had been sitting in my bunker for a couple of years. i had to wipe off a thick layer of dust and cobwebs before I popped the cork on this 22 oz bomber. At 11.5% ABV this is an aggressive stout, and I knew it was going to be big and bold. By way of full disclosure I had heard that this beer was a bit of a disappointment when it came to Idaho in 2011. But not being one to let others opinions influence my drinking decisions (if I did, I would never had tried the Duchesse based on Jim’s disdain for that beverage) I went ahead and bit the bullet and paid the $19 for this caged and corked bomber.
Well, I was hesitant to use 2 cups of it for cooking, so i fudged a bit so I could have a little bit more for “personal consumption.” Well, I probably could have not skimped on the recipe amount, because the beer just was a bit of a disappointment.
The pour was nice enough with a good pop from the cork, a nice inky blackness, and a huge cappuccino colored head, it looked the part, and I thought perhaps the harsh words were over stated. Maybe the 2 years of aging was just what it needed. That’s what I told myself. Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that it just wasn’t a great beer, and certainly it was a disappointment given the price point.
It had a slight nose to it, very understated, and I picked up hints of toffee and wood. It actually had a slight bourbon nose more so than beer. The flavor started off with Booze and finished with Barrel. The mouthfeel was quite thin, well that’s not fair, it wasn’t thin so much as it was more of a medium feel, but on a big stout with a thick head I expect creaminess, what I got was a little thicker than water. While I do like Wood and Booze, I prefer to have more other stuff in there too. How about some chocolate, toffee, vanilla, or even licorice? But there was none of that to be had, it just had a huge boozy front and a dry and oaky finish. At one point I thought it tasted more like a big woody Cabernet Wine than a Stout beer.
So while this beer did show some interesting characteristics, it just didn’t seem ready for prime time. And at that price I could buy a Six Pack of Sam Adams Extra Stout, and actually be a lot happier with my purchase.
On a Personal note I am sitting at the bar of my new restaurant and beer store typing this on my new laptop, so I am pretty sure I will be posting on a much more regular basis into the future.