Tasted Friday morning before heading to Great River for bartending for the afternoon. Received from the Surly people at the Great Taste of the Midwest
Appearance: Deep stained wood brown and a rubied hue with a surprising clarity (either filtered or crashed at 32 for a while) The head is dense and beige, or representing an expresso colored foam. It dissipates into an evenly distributed entire film, caressing the sides of the glass. Hardly any activity within the glass. Aroma: Mellow coffee and roasted barley permeate the nostrils. There is of course a tinge of vanilla along side this roasted complexion. Some bittersweet chocolate, but overall there isn’t anything very robust to the scent. Taste: There isn’t very much of a malt base to this beer, perhaps just a basic dark brown ale or porter with brewed coffee added to the brite tank. A bit nutty at the middle with some toasted barley and some graininess, while the vanilla seems to have disappeared. Another key feature to this beer, and many others like it is the acidic coffee flavor that rounds out the end after the roastiness. It reminds me of stale coffee. Bitter tannic flavor at the very end. Mouthfeel: Immediately on of the first characteristics of this beer I noticed once I tasted it was its unusually high carbonation right at the forefront of the mouth – not necessarily a bite, but a fizzed scraping all the way down the throat. Body is very light for this “stout-like” beer. Texture is aggressive and the beer finishes dry and bitter Overall Impression: Was expecting more from this beer, especially Surly (though perhaps I’m just used to Great River’s Redband stout. Oh well, acidic and burnt but still getting you your morning’s breakfast beer’s worth of coffee. Lacking a malt sweetness upfront and rounding out bitter.