Gray’s Brewing Co.
Available: IL, WI
In 1856, Irish immigrant Joshua C. Gray founded this brewery, which is still in family hands 140 years and five generations later.
Alcohol (wt.): n/a
Alcohol (vol.): 5.6
Original Gravity: 1056
Final gravity: n/a
Malts used: six varieties of two-row malted barley
Hops used: n/a
Billed on its label as “Big. Black. Bold,” this stout looks to me to be more deep brown than black in color. So let’s check the “Big” and “Bold” parts of the claim. The aroma is sweetish and roasty, with more than a touch of coffee-with-sugar character. The body, I find, is more soothing than bold, with raisiny notes up front and creamy mocha and burnt sugar flavors in the middle, leading to a faintly astringent finish that leaves me feeling a bit let down. A fine session stout, but not exactly as billed, I think.
A meal in a glass! A statement for stout. A rich, velvety texture mirrored in both aroma and flavor. Deep, dark and mysterious—yet soft maltiness, toasted grains and smoothness of oatmeal. The bite (or rather, a gentle nip) of high-kilned roasted barley malts. Sweet-bitter-tangy and floral in balanced perfection. The clean aftertaste inspires a desire for more of the same. Great drinkability. A friend indeed.
Bright sunshine can barely punch through the glass, and the beer holds a light brown head. The nose is full of chocolate and American coffee, with some hop notes wafting through the background. The bitterness is light and the palate starts soft and a bit sweet, with nice roast and caramel in the center. It pulls up semi-dry into the finish. A tasty version of the style and a pleasant partner to Mexican dishes made with dark molé sauce.