Sunday, August 28, 2011

Créme Brûlée Stout

Tasted Wednesday evening while at Ribco. This was part of a pre-festiv-ale tapping before Saturdays big event. I had heard the rarity of this beer and just had to jump on the opportunity to get it. Jen and I shared this with Karan and Scot Scharr as well as Dan from Bluecat and Major John. Served in a bottle, poured in a snifter and pint glass.

Appearance: Extremely dark in look, bordering black, but still maintaining a brown tint. Dark beige head initially, but no sooner dissipates into a ring around the inner perimeter around the glass. No visibility within.
Aroma: Huge smell! Actually, it's so aromatic one can smell it several seats down the bar, and upon every swirl, someone acknowledged it. Vanilla, toffee and caramelized candi sugars, with notes of chocolate and caramel. Literally a dessert to be paired with ice-cream. I've never really found a beer to be so rich and accurately similar to a custard/caramelized Créme Brûlée dessert! Irish Cream.
Taste: Bold and rich. Similar to the aroma, but a bit more subdued and sweet with a profile of chocolate and toffee. Vanilla is still very prominent along side a rich nuttiness and custard-like complexity. Toffee complements an otherwise light coffee toasted bitterness. As the beer warms, it gains even more of a sweetened characteristic. All very reminiscent of Bailey's Irish Cream or a chocolate liqueur atop vanilla ice cream. Some alcohol rounds out the beer, but is well masked by many of the preceding flavors. Toasted malt emerges and is long lived in the aftertaste, along side the ever remaining vanilla flavor that seems to be common to all aspects of the beer (even appearance!).
Mouthfeel: Body is very volumptuous and thick, and gains this as the beer warms and carbonation lessens. I'd compare it more to the consistency of hot syrup. The lactose and unfermentable sugars in the flavor provide a stickiness on the lips and a cloying factor in the throat. Much of the alcohol does clear this up, but there still remains some cloy in the back of the throat. Not very drinkable by drinkability standards, more just a sipper.
Overall Impression: I'd put this with something Starbucks would make, complete with espresso, caramel, toffee, vanilla and cream, whipped together and served hot (well not hot in that sense...more hot by alcohol standards). Robust and overwhelmingly rich. A bottle will go a verly long way, so be sure to have several people with to share it with. We couldn't finish ours. Definitely a unique rarity to get your hands on for a taste.
 My rating is not representative of whether I liked it or how interesting or drinkable it was, more a combination or lack there of, of all three.


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