Archive for Stouts

66 – Ithaca Eleven

I’m a sucker for a fancy label but knowing the great success I’ve had with Ithaca Beer Company in the past I thought I’d give this one a shot. Milk Stout though… this could hurt the lactose intolerant guy. The things I do for science. *sheesh*

Ithaca Eleven
brewery:
Ithaca Beer Company – ithacabeer.com
style: Milk Stout
abv: 7.5%
serving size: 22 oz
glass used: pint
price: $11.99

Overview
Brewed with British, German, and French malts, American hops, and milk sugar, then aged for weeks on locally roasted Sumatra coffee beans.

What I think
Again with the coffee aroma. I’m sure I would dig coffee shops if the culture behind most of the jagoff drinkers wasnt there. I LOVED the aroma of this. As soon as I opened the bottle it was a nose full of coffee and sweetness. Its like a hot chocolate on a frigid winter day but without burning your tongue. My gripe from appearance was that the head vanished very quickly. I would have liked to stuck my nose in the frothy goodness a bit longer.

Eleven packs a medium body with upfront deep roasted beans and chocolate balanced by a little carbonation. The finish was soothing and a latte aftertaste.  Should you buy some? This is absolutely one you need to pick up but I wouldn’t sit it on the shelf, you deserve to enjoy this soon.

Spoon’s rating: A+

Comments (1)

52 – Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

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*This week’s review comes from my good friend Phil at My Life As A Foodie. I’ve been sick with laryngitis the past couple of weeks so instead of ruining a beer with a funked palate I called in the big guns. Thanks Phil!*

The old adage “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” has served as a lifelong proverb for everyone to simply give things a chance, no matter what your first inclination is. To not try something simply because of its appearance at first glance is short-sighted, and can sometimes cheat you of an incredible experience. That’s exactly the case with Ten Fidy, an Imperial Stout from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. Ten Fidy, like all of the beers from Oskar Blues, comes packaged in 12 ounce cans.  And I’m here to tell you that canned craft beer is here to stay.

In 2002, Oskar Blues became the first US microbrewery to brew and can its own beer, destroying the myth that cans impart flavor to it. These days, aluminum cans are lined with a water-based coating, so the beer goes untouched. There are many advantages to canning craft beer. Among them, it allows you to chill the beer more quickly, and it keeps light from striking it. So beers loaded with hops (such as IPAs, and Imperial Stouts) won’t be victim to skunking if exposed to light for long periods of time.

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
brewery:
Oskar Blues Brewery – oskarblues.com
beer website: www.oskarblues.com/brew/
style: Imperial Stout
abv: 9.5%
serving size: 12 oz cans (yes, cans!)
glass used: snifter
price: $10 (4 pack)

Overview
It’s the beer equivalent of decadently rich milkshake made with malted-milk balls and Heaven’s best chocolate ice cream. Ten FIDY is about 10% ABV and is made with enormous amounts of two-row malts, chocolate malts, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Its huge-but-comforting flavors hide a whopping 98 IBUs that are deftly tucked underneath the beer’s mountains of malty goodness.

What I think
Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.

Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

Phil’s rating: A

Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.

Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

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49 – Brooklyn Black Ops

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Last week there was no update. Penguins won game 6 the night before in the Stanley Cup Playoffs leaving me dead to the world on Wednesday. Friday they would win the Stanley Cup 2-1 in game 7 and it was time to celebrate. I had every intention on keeping BlackOps in the cellar but this is what craft beer is about. Celebration. I had every desire of releasing this yesterday but Mother Nature tried to wipe Pittsburgh off the map with tornadoes, floods and everything else up her sleeve. The spoon residence has been dealt the flood hand before and its never easy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you whom suffered loss.

Brooklyn Black Ops
brewery: Brooklyn Brewing – www.brooklynbrewery.com
style: Russian Imperial Stout
abv:
10.7%
serving size: 750ml
glass used: snifter
price:
$27

Overview
Brooklyn Black Ops (2008 commercially available version) was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast. 940 cases produced.

What I think
I admit that spending $27 on a single bottle of beer is steep but when it’s a reputable brewery sometimes it’s worth taking a risk. This one is such a beverage. The head poured a perfect 2 finger giving the sweet aroma of vanilla with slight coffee and bourbon. The taste was a mouthful of excellence. Started with coffee and slight chocolate then moved to a mild bourbon and finishes malty smooth. Honestly it felt like the ultimate milkshake. A 5 dollar milkshake . under the circumstances this was the best way to celebrate the Pens winning the Stanley Cup. Honestly, if you have a bottle of this I say sit on it a year because time aging will make this one of the greatest RIS ever!

Spoon’s rating: A+

Comments (2)

47 – Great Lakes Blackout Stout

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I have 2 6-packs of this aging in my basement. This time I had it fresh from the tap at Mad Mex in Cranberry.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout
brewery:
Great Lakes – greatlakesbrewing.com
beer webpage:
http://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/beerProfile.php?beer_id=00000010
style: Russian Imperial Stout
abv:
9%
glass used:
snifter
awards: Gold Medal, 2008 World Beer Cup | Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Championships | Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup | Gold Medal, 2003 World Beer Championships | Gold Medal, 2003 World Beer Championships (as Emmett’s Imperial Stout) | Silver Medal, 1996 World Beer Championships (as Emmett’s Imperial Stout)
price:
$6

Overview
Named after the infamous “Blackout of 2003” that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and down-home fun.

What I think
Since I wasn’t the one who poured this I can’t tell you what that was like but when it arrived there was beer porn in my presence.  Aroma was slight chocolate, stronger on the coffee and that first drink was deep, thick, and rich deliciousness in the form of chocolate with a hint of vanilla. This was velvety on the palate and finished smoother than Billy Dee Williams.

Spoon’s rating: A

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44 – Guinness 250 Anniversary Stout

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I’m sharing the spotlight this week. Please welcome to the stage fellow Yinz Team softball all star, Uncle Crappy. Crappy stood out at Podcamp Pittsburgh 2 during our SIDT/WMS session on grassroots podcasting as the only person to applaud and cheer as if the Stanley Cup was brought into the room. We broke his heart shortly afterward when he found out there wasn’t any free beer.

UC is a die hard Ohio State fan, fellow craft beer enthusiast, a great friend and helluva model American. If you see one of us at a craft beer festival there is a good chance the other isn’t far behind. You can follow Uncle Crappy on his blog at unclecrappy.com

Guinness 250th Anniversary Stout
brewery:
St. James Gate – guinness.com
style:
Irish Dry Stout
abv:
5%
serving size:
12oz
glass used:
Spoon said “I used a Guinness pint glass that mysteriously appeared one night after a trip to Mad Mex.” Uncle Crappy sighed “I don’t know what the hell it’s called; Mrs. Crappy picked it up at Penn when we thought the place was closing down. It’s a pretty good approximation of an imperial pint glass, though.”
price: Spoon paid $3.25 at 3 Sons Dogs and Suds in Wexford, PA. Uncle Crappy paid $10 for the six. God bless the State of Ohio. Purchased at the Andersons general store, Dublin, Ohio. If you’re in Columbus and you’re thirsty, this is the first place you should stop.

What Uncle Crappy thinks
Uncle Crappy

I’m a Guinness fan. Yeah, I know — it’s sort of like the Irish Budweiser, but it’s always a reliable choice when the pickings are slim. And you can’t beat the history; I mean, it’s been around for, like, 250 years or something.
Oh. Right. The name.

I knew I wanted to bring some home from our last trip to Columbus, and I was pleased to see it was pretty easy to find. I sat down with a couple bottles the other night; here’s what I came up with.

You see a difference right away. The 250 is carbonated differently than the nitrogen carbonation Guinness uses for the draught bottles or cans we have here, and it shows. You don’t see that beautiful cascade; you get something closer to a traditional beer pour with this one, setting up a half-inch head that dissipated pretty quickly. The aroma is also a bit different; the roasted malts are more prominent than in the Guinness I’m accustomed to.

That carries over to the taste, as well. Roasted coffee is right up front, followed by a hints of bread and, uh, not much else. My biggest gripe, though, is the mouthfeel; the more traditional carbonation naturally leads to a more traditional kind of feel; it’s not bad, but I really missed the silky Guinness texture.

Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a bad beer. But if you’ve had a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout, you already have a pretty good idea of what the 250 is all about, and I was hoping for a little more.

Uncle Crappy’s rating: C+

What spoon thinks
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This isn’t your typical Guinness so before you open it remember that not all are created equal. The pour was disappointing as the head was weak and vanished fast. I looked at it for a second and though “this looks like really cheap root beer from Aldi.” The aroma and taste, it turned out, was better than the appearance. I could smell a roasted coffee in the glass and the taste followed suit with a dry finish. I found it kinda light and watery as it seriously lacked body. That was it? That was what Guinness wasted a 250th anniversary on? Serious let down but better than some I’ve had.

This is a dry stout and lives up to the style but isn’t anything special besides a name.

Spoon’s rating: C-

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41 – Left Coast Brewing Black Magic Stout

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I picked up this bottle also at D’s 6pk Shop in Regent Square. Unfortunately there was no price on the bottle or shelf (that’s common in the beer cave) and was part of a special on mixed 6packs.

Never heard of it but they carried the full series so I figured why not.

Left Coast Brewing Black Magic Stout
brewery:
Left Coast Brewing Company – leftcoastbrewing.com
style:
American Stout
abv:
6.7%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
pint
awards: Silver Medal Winner 2007 San Diego County Fair | Gold medal Winner 2007 LA County Fair | Gold Medal Winner 2007 California State Fair.
price: no idea, price tags are apparently tough to come by these days

Overview
Simply a stronger version of a traditional Dry Irish Stout. It is a full bodied, dark brew that is rich and malty with plenty of roasted barley character. This hearty stout is layered with flavors of roasted barley, chocolate, and coffee.

What I think
I don’t normally go for non-imperial bottles that have collected dust but something spoke to me about this bottle. Basically I was thirsty and needed something to complete the 6pk.

The pour was average and the head was a light tan but astonishingly the nose was that of stale chocolate or old coffee beans. To my surprise this would be a  palatable adventure. Malty in the front and coffee in the back but yet for a thin bodied stout this was resting quite peacefully on my palate. I started to pick up notes of dark roasted beans and a Hershey’s syrup favored chocolate. I really want to give this beer an “A” but the aroma was a huge turnoff for me.

Spoon’s rating: B+

Comments

40 – Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

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I missed posting last week since Teaspoon is officially home with us now and as you can expect things have been hectic. I picked up this bottle at D’s 6pk Shop in Regent Square. Unfortunately there was no price on the bottle or shelf (that’s common in the beer cave) and was part of a special on mixed 6packs.

Founders have finally arrived in Pennsylvania and have made a huge splash as one of the most sought after brewers of the year now available in the commonwealth.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
brewery:
Founders Brewing Company – foundersbrewing.com
style:
Imperial American Stout
abv:
10%
serving size:
12oz
glass used:
pint (snifter ran away. please come home)
price: $6.00

Overview
A bit of backwoods pleasure without the banjo. This stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels. Our process ensures that strong bourbon undertones come through in the finish in every batch we brew. We recommend decanting at room temperature and best enjoyed in a brandy snifter.

What I think
I can say that since the start of this blog I’ve now reached beervana twice. KBS is in my top 5 of best beers ever. I was able to get KBS to appropriate room temp but my snifter is missing so I had to settle on a pint glass. Even with different glassware this was a fantastic experience. There was about a medium sized head on the pour but that was my fault. Instantly I was picking up strong coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but I love the smell. The pour wasn’t as thick and dark as motor oil but a coffeehouse dark blend.

Now the taste. Oh sweet Jesus the taste. Someone new to craft beers would never believe this is a beer. A delightful balance of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and malt that took me back to my coffeehouse days of the early-mid 90’s while sporting my grunge swag. The mouth feel smooth and creamy but not overpowering. Each savor you pick up something new. It’s like the chewing gum from Willy Wonka without the need for de-juicing. Started with coffee, picked up some vanilla, then a bit chocolate and finished with malty goodness. Have I mentioned this is aged in bourbon barrels?  Oh yeah. the final treat is the grand finale of bourbon wood.

If you’re going to win over the beer downers in your circle of friends this is what you want to serve them. Although, you give them the best off the bat and they’ll expect it from every brewery. Give them a sample and taunt them forever.

Spoon’s rating: A+

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34 – Big Black VooDoo Daddy

Big Black VooDoo Daddy

This is the second of the 2 imperial stouts that are new to the area from VooDoo Brewing. If you ever get the chance to try Matt’s line of beers I highly suggest it.

Big Black VooDoo Daddy
brewery:
VooDoo Brewing – voodoobrewery.com
style:
Imperial Stout
abv:
12.5%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
pint
price: $9.00

Overview
This Is our Imperial Stout that we age in conditioning tanks with oak staves. This adds a classic character of old world aging with out the Bourbon tones. This black ale is about 12% alc. and very rich in roasted and chocolate malt tones. Velvety smooth and able to be aged for years.

What I think
After last week’s slight disappointment I was really looking for a saving grace and with the results in, I found it. The body was very similar to that of the Black Magick but instead of a nose full of alcohol there was slight chocolate and a medium amount of coffee and bourbon. With each drink take a deep breath and capture the goodness of the aroma. I’m finding a nice coffee taste lingering on my palate without the nasty film that comes with drinking coffee (I get my jabs in when I can). Each drink I’m getting a smooth up front flavor and a mild chocolate coffee finish. Oh yeah, redemption has been found. In fact it’s safe to say this is my new fav imperial stout. Matt, you nailed it on this one.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments

33 – VooDoo Black Magick


This beer has had much hype coming into our area. VooDoo Brewing is 90 minutes up I-79 from Pittsburgh but I think we were the last market to get our hands on some.  I’ve met Matt Allyn many times and have the utmost respect for what he’s doing in Meadville and Titusville. He’s brewing what he likes and honestly I’ve never had so many unique beers from one brewery. Cheers to his creativity and hard work!

VooDoo Black Magick
brewery:
VooDoo Brewing – voodoobrewery.com
style:
Imperial Stout
abv:
15.5%
serving size:
12oz
glass used:
pint
price: $11.00

Overview
This is an Imperial Stout that is of great strength and complexity. We then gently age that beer in Elaigh Craig 13 1/2 year old Bourbon Barrels for 6 months to 1 yr. and then primed and bottled to bottle condition for continued aging and cellar life. Black Magick should be able to be aged up to about 5 years, to heighten the complexity and smooth nature of this beer.

What I think
Right off the bat all I could smell was alcohol and not in a good way. It poured the blackest I’ve seen a beer in quite some time. This would be a rare case where my family is right saying a dark beer is strong. In fact I think this has more aroma kick than the Weyerbacher XIII. There was a thin cocoa colored head on the pour as I kept staring at it wondering if I’d be sucked into my beloved Foundry Ale Works pint glass.

The bourbon taste I expected was actually stronger than anticipated. Reminded me of the first time I had a Shipwreck Porter. It was a punch in the teeth of bourbon.  Once I got past the strong alcohol tones I my palate went into spaz mode of the delicious chocolate malt back end. Unfortunately the alcohol came back and I had a hard time getting this out of my mouth.

This would have been a B+ or A- easy if it wasn’t for strong alcohol taste I kept getting. Tone it down a bit and I think it would be one of the best imperial stouts ever made. At $11 a bottle I would only suggest it once though I may have to buy one to age for a year or 2.

Spoon’s rating: C+

Comments

30 – Southern Tier Choklat

I decided to be a nice beer guy and share this with my family last night when we celebrated the holiday at my brother’s house. I come from a family of “if it’s dark, it’s strong” and “why cant you drink normal beer like Bud”. I was on a mission to expand some minds and educate.

Southern Tier Choklat
brewery:
Southern Tier – southerntierbrewing.com
style: Imperial Chocolate Stout
abv:
11%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
pint
price: $12

Overview
The Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, unfolds a complex web of mystery around a beverage known as xocoatl (ch-co-atle). At Southern Tier, we’re not surprised that hieroglyphs of the ancient Maya depict chocolate being poured for rulers and gods. Even through the many voyages of Columbus, the mystical bean remained nothing more than a strange currency of the native peoples.

Moving through centuries, the circular journey of cacao has been realized in our brewing house, encompassing the complexity of the darkest, bitter-sweet candy together with the original frothy cold beverage of the ancient Maya to bring to you our Blackwater Series Choklat Stout. We have combined the finest ingredients to tempt your senses & renew the power & interrelation of history in every bottle.

What I think
This is “liquid brownie in a bottle” as I like to call it. The aroma is incredible. Bountiful amount of chocolate, chocolate and oh yeah chocolate. Remember the scratch-n-sniff stickers from the 80’s of the Hot Chocolate or walking through Hershey, PA? See where I’m going with it? Even my family said “Is that chocolate? This can’t be beer!”

My brother was the one who poured so there wasn’t much head (I need to teach him the art). It pours darker than a black hole and will suck you in with it’s medium body and chocolate blanket that blankets your palate. This is heaven in a glass.

I’m not a fan of sweets and very rarely eat anything along the lines of candy but Choklat is fantastic. This is the best chocolate beer you will ever drink. You know that feeling when everything in the world seems perfect at that moment? This will take you there and give a beergasm.

Spoon’s rating: A+

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