Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Night Stalker

Tasted on Tuesday evening following practice and during the raging snowstorm that hit the Midwest. I figured a big stout was a worthy candidate against the big storm. Also this was a celebratory beer for my recent internship position.  Jen braved the blizzard in order to try some.

Appearance: Jet black with a densely packed frothy brown one finger head. I allowed this to warm over several minutes having been in the fridge for over 6 months. leaving behind in a dissipated path is a wet bubbly lacing. Still amongst the blackness there are a few carbonated bubbles slowly rising to the surface.
Aroma: Robust and sweet. There is an alcoholic burn against the roasted malt and coffee aroma. In between I discover well mannered hints of oak and wood along with mild earthy undertones. Dark chocolate liqueur may be another term rightfully dedicated to this beer. Finally there are brief hints of dark fruit tannins like those of plums and grapes/raisins. Vanilla may also be a subtle contributive factor intertwined into the boastful complexity.
Taste: After holding off for over 15 minutes to taste this beer, I finally give it a shot. The alcohol is a highly prominent element of this beer. Standing at nearly 12 percent, it surely takes a large chunk of the palate and twists it into a bold imperial. Similarly though, the malt profile by way of chocolate and dark roasted barley are still able to make their way to the surface and still pronounce themselves to the palate. To finish, it becomes a head to head race between the rich hop bitterness and the ever prominent booziness. Unfortunately the alcohol wins, though not by much. This beer establishes a segmented development in flavor by which anyone could taste if they truly thought about it. Molasses and some tobacco tones may be noted as well within the malt complexity.
Mouthfeel: Thick and sticky with a voluptuous body that is outright the epitome of chewy. Very minimal carbonation, but still present in a very micro-form. Tacky to the lips and thick. This would be similar to drinking hot maple syrup but without any thermoreceptors in the mouth. It is certainly a big beer that is quite filling.
Overall Impression: To tell you the truth, I probably would have been very disappointed with this beer a couple months ago, and I'm very glad I waited for tonight to try it. I remember tasting Goose Island Vanilla  Bourbon Country Stout. Though potentially a good beer, I'm still impartial to the current "big beer" trend that is currently making an appearance on the market. The  booziness for me was too much. I want it drinkable, not just high alcohol and a ton of malt and body..


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