Saturday, May 28, 2011

North Wind Imperial Stout

Spent the morning at the farmers market and filling Firkins of Roller Dam Red with Simcoe and Cascade. The rest of the day was spent napping. Tasted in the evening following a 12 mile run into Bettendorf. I had thought I had reviewed this beer 9 months ago when I bought 2 six packs. But somehow I forgot. I'd place this as one of the best stouts I've had. Let me know what you think.

Appearance: This beer maintains a dense foamed head initially, brown in color. Dissipates quickly into an inconsistent film with soapy bubbles accumulating on the side. Color is coal black with no transparency. Wet lacing clings to the sides of the snifter.
Aroma: Robust chocolate and roasted nuttiness predominates over all other characteristics. Sweet malted caramel is present, but chocolate malt and some licorice are present. No alcohol shows up either. I can tell this is a very sweet beer, right from the aroma. Modest coffee in that it remains mellow and not acidic.
Taste: The most apparent element of this beer is its sweetness. Dominantly chocolate with a sweet backbone makes it characterized more in a milk chocolate flavor. The other residual flavors only further the depth and complexity of this beer. Roasted barley presents itself more on a sweeter side of the coffee bean. There is a nutty/caramel undertone, along with a chalky, dough-ball flavor (trust me, I like eating them before jumping in the mash tun) that encouraes the malt base. The finish is clean with hardly any alcohol to hinder or overtake the flavor. I don't detect much fruitiness to this which means a pure yeast was used and it was attenuated and temperature controlled perfectly! One could say that this beer has a "cocoa powder" profile to it...perhaps.
Mouthfeel: Big bodied, but smooth and soft. There is a chalky density to this beer making it slightly filling, but delectably inviting. Carbonation takes a background appearance, only loosening up a bit of it, all the while encouraging a creamy texture. Finish is dry, but not resinous.
Overall Impression: One of the most impressive imperial stouts I've come across. The flavor profile revolves around a chocolate malt backbone, and all other blossom from that. Alcohol could creep up on you because it takes on a un-noticeable part in the finish. Hops are relatively non-existent too. Ultimately, I see this as a beer to recon with against all other categories.

Binny's: $8.99 /six pack
Two Brother's Brewery $9.99 /six pack

Similar stouts:
Big Bear Black Stout


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