Tasted Tuesday evening after a long day at the brewery (spent kegging out a tank, cleaning a tank, filtering and canning). Phew. The rest took place back at Augustana's Microbiology lab where I made the worts (malt broths) for the 1 Liter generation of the Pacific Ale Yeast I preserved back in May. No running today, it's already 5:00 and dark, and snowy...Wah wahhh.
Appearance: At the pour, it took rather long for the carbonation to bellow up from the depth's of the glass, and even then, it wasn't very substantial. Very dark, but with a clarity around the edges. Slight ring forms around the edges. Overall, it looks pretty still.
Aroma: Roasted chestnuts with brown sugar. I pull a definitive chocolate malt with a toasted counterpart. Undertones of nuts and a faint woodiness are layered under the base malt.
Taste: The toffee! wow. This beer packs a dark, rich malt flavor, paralleled by few. Toasted grains and pumpernickel rye complemented with smooth bittersweet chocolate and fudge. A touch of yeast under the malt bill, but hardly anything to take away from the beer. A faint alcohol warmth is present at the very end along with a bittersweetness leaving a refreshing taste. Remnants of a burnt taste? Hardly, all I get is a combination of licorice and SwissMiss in symbiosis with that nuttiness that was prominent in the aroma.
Mouthfeel: Definitely a lighter body than I expected. Carbonation seems distant from the liquid its dissolved in, but nevertheless carries some weight in the general texture of the beer. The finish is dry with a very resined feel between the tongue and the roof of the mouth...good use of a neutral hop!
Overall Impression: I'm certainly impressed with this beer. It not only balanced the best of all worlds from toasted to roasted, but also integrated flavors like vanilla, nuts, and licorice...while still remaining palatable and surprisingly, extremely drinkable! This is definitely a top of the line stout!