Friday, January 20, 2012

Clown Shoes Brewing- "Blaecorn Unidragon" Russian Imperial Stout

We finally have some snow on the ground, and when the weather gets cold, I think stouts. STRONG stouts. Ones that can keep you warm on a cold winters night.

 Russian Imperial Stouts, to be exact.

This one is local to MA. I'd be lying if I said I knew much about Clown Shoes beer. Their beer appears to be brewed by Mercury Brewing in Ipswich, but its not an Ipswich Beer.

Clown Shoes "Blaecorn Unidragon" photo by Bill
Blaecorn Unidragon- Russian Imperial Stout
Clown Shoes Beer (brewed by Mercury Brewing, Ipswich, MA)
12.5% ABV

The bottle describes the beer, and the name, thusly-

"What should we call our Russian Imperial Stout? Black Unicorn? Soul Dragon? Nahhh. Let's combine them and create the ultimate mythical creature: Blaecorn Unidragon!

Imbued with a monstrous amount of dark malt and aggressive hops, Blaecorn Unidragon is a powerful and complex brew designed to improve with age"

My particular bottle was not aged, as I am not that patient. It was bottled on 10/11 and consumed on 1/19.

This beer pours black and oily, with a quarter inch of dark tan head that is vibrant and sustained. Great head retention on this brew.

Smell is intense- equal parts alcohol, hops, and dark roasted malt, it's a blend of smokey earthiness and alcohol.

Mouth feel is thick and creamy, velvety smooth, with just a touch of carbonation.

Taste is surprisingly hop forward- bitter hops greets the tongue, followed by an wash of alcohol, then the intense roasted malts on the follow through. I get a touch of licorice and smokiness, maybe bitter chocolate, but its subtle. Finish is slightly bitter and smokey.

I found this to be an ultra aggressive take on the style. The prominence of the hops give it a more East India Porter taste (much like Pretty Things EIP) , but with the mouth feel and lesser carbonation of a stout. The alcohol almost overpowers the smokey goodness of the dark roasted malts.

I enjoyed it, however, and would cautiously recommend this brew to Russian Imperial Stout lovers who have a designated driver or are enjoying it at home.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Founders Brewing Company- Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Breakfast Stout

Happy New Year everyone!

We are back, and we're making some changes here at Man Drinks Beer.

First- you'll notice the new layout. It's a new blogger template option that attempts to work in dynamic content. I highly recommend viewing it in the "flipcard" format. I feel this gives the reader better tools to navigate the content and to more quickly get an idea of what we're all about. I don't know if this change is permanent, but I like the new look very much. Please let me know what you think.

Second- no more number rankings. Rankings are so subjective, attempting to put numbers on it just wasn't working for me. Instead, I'll simply give a "Recommended" or "Not Recommended" final opinion.

Third- I am going to work hard at writing more regularly, and more locally. So many great local beers, they all deserve attention.

And now, for my first review of 2012.....

Breakfast Stout
Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan
8.3% ABV, 60 IBUs

How good is this beer? Put it this way- I was shopping at Julio's the Friday before Christmas, saw this on the shelf, and picked it up. I read the label, then put it back on the shelf to ponder. I turned around not 30 seconds later and the entire shelf was cleaned out. No joke, someone cleaned out every last 4 pack of breakfast stout.

As luck would have it, they got a second shipment in late afternoon, and I just happened to stop in as they were stocking the shelf. This time, I did not hesitate, and grabbed a 4 pack.

The carton reads like this- "Brewed for us. Enjoyed by everyone. The coffee lovers consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. This stout has an intense fresh roasted java nose topped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that goes forever"

Well then...

This beer pours an intense jet black, thick and oily, with a dark caramel head that collapses almost immediately, leaving only light lacing on the glass.

Smell is intense- fresh roasted coffee dominates the nose, with only the subtlest hints of chocolate and hops present.

Mouthfeel is full and thick, creamy, smooth and intense on the tongue.

Taste is as intense as the smell, but more complex. Fresh roasted coffee still dominates, but the chocolate hints are a bit stronger on the back. Its super flavorful. Hop notes become more pronounced on the back as you drink, and they really balance, or perhaps enhance, the roasted coffee.  Finish is a nice blend of hop and coffee bitter.

I loved this beer. It lives up to the hype. Recommended for those who enjoy an "in your face" coffee stouts with intense flavor.