Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Stone Brewing brings back the Russian Imperial Stout

Stone has brought back a fan favorite for 2018- their typically outstanding Russian Imperial Stout, this time available in handy 6 packs!

I've long been a big big fan of this beer. Stone may be more well known for their IPA's, but they really do an outstanding job with stouts as well.

Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout 2018
Stone Brewing Co, Escondido, CA
10.6% ABV, 70 IBUS

As Stone RIS always does, it pours a thick, semi-viscous black, with a tight caramel colored head.

Aroma is nice.....modest....roasty goodness....peat moss and notes of burnt chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thinner than I recall, full bodied, soft, but not heavy or as thick as it looks.

And the taste....oh the taste in marvelous....all that malty goodness, with  notes of coffee and chocolate bitter. I found a surprising bitterness at the end for a brief moment, coffee and/or hop bitter, and that threw me for a moment. But I either got used to it, or it mellowed, because it was far less noticeable as I worked through the glass.

All in all, this is a truly excellent Russian Imperial Stout. I always love Stones take on the style, and their always unique twists that they incorporate (please bring back the Anise version....please?), like the subtle but wonderful chocolate and coffee I found in this one. At 10% ABV, it's not to be taken lightly. But if you like Russian Imperial Stouts, this one come highly recommended!


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"We're going to need you to come in on Saturday" Scotch Ale

Exhibit A Brewing's new scotch ale.
Framingham's Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company recently released a much needed. malty, sweet alternative to the tidal wave of unfiltered, hazy "juice" currently flooding the craft beer market.

I give you "We're going to need you to come in on Saturday" Scotch Ale, a masterpiece of malty perfection that could not have been introduced at a better time.

This beer absolutely rules.

As a style, I've always loved scotch ale, and this might be the best one I've ever had. Also called "Wee  Heavy's", scotch ale, as the name suggests, is of proud Scottish origin, and can generally be described as  strong, dark, malty, with little hop character and moderate carbonation". (There's a tendency to associate a "smokiness" with the style, and while these variations do exist and are often very good, they actually represent an early but distinctly American interpretation on the style. I recall Sam Adams original take on the style in the 1990's that had this earthy, peaty smokiness. It was quite good!) 

   The Oxford Companion to Beer has some great information on the style. My favorite section reads as such: "Bitterness levels of Scotch Ales range widely, usually between 15-25 IBU, but hops have never been a focal point of beers brewed in a land where hops will not grow. Scotch ale aromatics tend toward rich maltiness, with hop character very much in the background".

     This is why I love this particular beer, particularly at this point in time of the craft beer revolution. With "hazy", "juicy New England IPA" dominating the craft beer community these days, to brew a beer that's malt heavy and filtered fly's in the face fashion and I love it.

"We're going to need you to come in on Saturday" Scotch Ale
Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company- Framinghm, MA
8.4% ABV

As you can see from the photos, this beer pours a deep reddish brown, with minimal off-white head and minimal head and lacing on the glass.

The aroma is indeed malty but not overly sweet. Very subtle notes of dark fruits and caramel are present.

The mouthfeel is full bodied but not heavy, transitioning to sweet and malty flavors of caramel and toffee (?), sweet but again not too sweet. Finish is dry and clean.

This really is an extraordinary beer. For me it truly embodies teh term "wee heavy" ale, and I will be drinking this almost exclusively until it is gone. My only regret is that the Exhibit 'A' web site list this masterpiece as a "one off" brew.

Take my advice folks, get down there and try this beer before its gone!

What do yo think of malty beers? Have you ever had a "Wee Heavy" ale? Tell me about it in the comments section!