First saw this at the Wine and Cheese by TCC in Plainfield. I immediately bought a bottle. Then when Jen and I went back the next day, we sat and enjoyed breakfast outside in accompaniment of another bottle, just so I could know what I was in for. Reviewed Wednesday Afternoon after a late night at the brewery til 3:30 AM.
Appearance: The head stood at a 1/2" as shown in the picture. Its consistency was an assortment of fine and medium sized bubbles with a beige to brown cream color. The beer is predominantly black, but with a faint clear brown red transparency when held to very bright light.
Taste: The flavor is actually quite surprisingly palatable. An ideal stout flavor, reminiscent of roast and chocolate, and even a malty toastiness. However what is present in this stout as opposed to other normative varieties is the calcium flavor - a result of the strong presence of the CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) present in the shells. Definitely a beer with a relatively higher pH than others. The carbonation does a minor hit to the flavor up front, but what comes about is a soothing chocolate roast presence towards the end. The finish and on into the aftertaste continues to encapsulate this flavor.
Mouthfeel: The body is smooth and rich, while the mouthfeel takes on a slight chalkiness. If it was my guess, I'd say they also (in addition to Oyster shells) used a heavy dose of the CaCO3. Carbonation is high up front and minorly dries the palate aside for the glutton slickness residing on the roof of the mouth.
Overall Impression: The best impression I've had to a typical stout I've found yet. My stereotype to these beers usually is defined by my expectation that if a brewery uses a unique ingredient, they'll amp up the body and alcohol, but Flying Dog did a fantastic representation of a far-out brew that remains extremely palatable and drinkable. I'm getting a six-pack of this when I see it, and you should too. The more I think about it, Flying Dog easily makes it up there with my top 5 breweries. They were there when I first started getting into craft beer, when I PR'd in my races (See Barley Wine) and continue to impress me.