Great Lakes Brewing Company
From The Brewery:
A Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty malt body and bold hop flavor.
AVAILABILITY: 2010: February – March
TYPE/STYLE: Imperial Stout: Originated from recipes that British brewers tailored for the czars and czarinas of the Russian Imperial court.
FOOD COMPLEMENTS: Grilled red meats and chocolate desserts.
BRAND NAME: 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.
Appearance: I poured out this black imperial stout into a Duvel snifter. This thick, opaque beer was dense and capped off on top by thick, creamy head, made up of super-fine carbonation.
Smell: Strong smells of dark roasted, whole bean coffee and a little cocoa. It is balanced by sweet roasted malts, and as it warms up, gives off esters and heat.
Taste: Drying roasted coffee and cocoa, with this sweetness of burnt sugar. The middle has a mild hoppiness, and a character similar to soy sauce, which I have noticed in similar, large dark beers. It warms up a bit releasing more flavors such as molasses and sugars, with some heat.
Mouthfeel: This is a lower-full bodied beer, that is drying and very well balanced. I would love to try a sweet stout version of this, whose inclusion of lactose would be interesting to taste.
Drinkability: Medium; this is very easy going down, especially the last third. This is a potent beer though, at 9% ABV it is a heavy beer that fills you up quick.
Notes: A fantastic beer. This is a brewery who continues to amaze me. I look forward to trying more of their lineup this year.