Monday, December 28, 2009

A little Stout Tasting

Out of all styles of beers, the one that I am not drawn to instantly is Stouts. It's not that I am not a fan, it's usually that there are other beers that I enjoy as other options. Usually Stouts that are more on the heavier and bitter sides are not ones that I enjoy drinking a ton of. It's funny because I started with Stouts in college, the usual Guinness and Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stouts. Guinness, even though most people consider this beer to be 'heavy' -is actually quite light. So to have a Stout tasting was interesting, especially in comparison to each other.

The beers I tried were:
Mikkeler, Beer Geek Breakfast, Imperial Stout, 7.5%
Dogfish Head, Worldwide Stout, Imperial Stout, 18%
Ballast Point, Sea Monster, Imperial Stout, 10%
Three Floyds Brewing, Black Sun Stout, Irish Dry Stout, 5.25%

Amazingly they were all across the board in terms of flavor.  Some were more roasty and bitter while others were more on the sweeter and hoppier side of things.

In order of favorites:
Dogfish Head, Worldwide Stout- This beer is according to the label, 'A very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley'.  Of course, I chose the one that's 18%, right? I tend to like sippers!  This beer poured pitch black. It smelled like espresso, dark chocolate, hints of licorice, toasted malt, mixed in with a little vanilla. You can definitely smell the alcohol, although it smelled more like a Brandy or Cognac. The taste is fantastic- Black licorice, almost burnt malts, some raisins, and a twinge of tobacco. This Stout feels more like a Port to me, which I love!  It's sweet and a lot of flavor, one of the best stouts that I have ever tried. I am very happy that it has just been released to our side of the coast.

Ballast Point, Sea Monster. This beer was made in limited quantities and the only reason we were able to try some was because my husband did a trade on Beer Advocate for it. It's not distributed out in the Bay Area. This stout poured ink black and smelled of freshly roasted coffee, burnt caramel and citrus/piney hops. It tasted a bit toasty, with some dried raisins, plums, licorice, toffee, alcohol and subtle hops. What made this stout stand out to me was the hop flavor mixed into it. I usually only taste sweet or bitter stouts, but this one seems to be rounded out and a bit smoother due to the hop content.

Mikkeler, Beer Geek Breakfast. This beer is made with flaked oats and roasted gourmet coffee. It is definitely something heavy for breakfast! It pours black and smells of dark fudge, espresso, molasses and roasted malt. It tasted like burnt sugar, toffee, and roasted malt. It is bitter around the edges but all in all a solid coffee stout.

Three Floyds Brewing, Black Sun Stout. This baby poured cloudy dark brown with a hint of red to it. It smelled like chocolate, roasted malts, and a tinge sweet. It tasted roasty and bitter but with some fruitiness. It was a bit dry and bitter with a slightly leathery finish. It isn't as sweet as it leads you to think it is when you smell it. That was a bit disappointing in my book, but it doesn't make it a bad beer. It was just a bit bitter for my taste. This was another beer that my husband traded for and we also have the  2008 & 2009 Dark Lord in our beer closet from Three Floyds as well that we are looking forward in trying.

All in all, I am definitely getting the Dogfish Head whenever I am in the mood for a stout!

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