Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another Stout from the Great State of Maine...

I love the state of Maine. The fact that its become a hot bed of craft brewing brings great joy to my heart! So here's another review of a Maine brewed beer.

Mean Old Tom- Stout Aged On Natural Vanilla Beans
Maine Beer Company, Portland, ME

This beer pours a dark brownish red, with a creamy brown head.

Smell is STRONG coffee and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and wet. Its "unstout"-like in my mind. Very thin on the pallete.

Taste is smokey coffee, deep and earthy. There is a surprising hop taste and bitterness as well. Finish is super light and wet and smooth. But where are the natural vanilla beans?

I found this to be an odd beer- great aroma and taste, but the mouthfeel is very, very light. It's so light and thin that I don't consider this this a stout at all. I'm not sure what to call it. There is no velvety smoothness on the tongue, no thick, substantial body to wash over and envelope the palette. I found it texturally disappointing.

And where were these natural vanilla beans I was told about on the label? They too appear to be MIA.

What we have here is a beer with great smell and taste, yet, to this drinker, it didn't taste at all like the beer advertised on the label.

So, should it be recommended?

Well.... I'll leave you with this- it did taste great, but I don't feel it's actually a stout, and that was what I was expecting. It's more of an India Pale Porter, with coffee.

Draw your own conclusions. Try it, let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peak Organic Brewing Company-Oak Aged Mocha Stout

I've been on a bit of a "stout binge" of late. It's gotta be the cold weather, it makes me crave thicker, more substantial beers. When I saw this one on the shelf and read the label, it seemed an obvious must buy- a beer that is brewed with both coffee and chocolate? And its organic? Gotta give this beer a taste drive. Brewed with chocolate from Taza, and coffee from Coffee by Design, this beer has all the high quality/local ingredients you'd expect from Peak Organic Brewing.

Oak Aged Mocha Stout
Peak Organic Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
8.2 % ABV, 22 IBU's

This beer pours beautifully- jet black, with a a good half inch of dense brown head that leaves a substantial ring on the glass. It has an almost Guinness like cascade as the beer settles into the glass.

Nose is rather malty, with a subtle notes of bitter chocolate and wisps of wood.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rich, and it creates a tingling sensation on the tongue that I often notice with oak aged beers.

Taste is pronounced wood up front, obviously a product of the oak aging. Vanilla and smoke follow, rounded out by a bitter/sour finish that leaves you with notes of bitter chocolate and bitter coffee, and not much more.

I found this beer to be a tad too bitter for my taste (yes, I am aware its only 22 IBU's, but it tastes like a lot more). I prefer a smooth finish on my stouts, and I really didn't get any "mocha" flavor from this beer. It was much more smokey malts and wood flavors, as the coffee and chocolate just got overwhelmed and lost. I'm not sure if it's from the wood aging mellowing and thereby muddying the fine flavors of the specific high quality ingredients, but this beer just didn't work for me. I think it's a case of too much great stuff in one bottle all competing for your taste buds attention.

This beer is not recommended, but Peak Organic makes many other excellent brews, so give them a try.