Berkshire Imperial StoutJuly 1, 2007
Available: MA, CT, RI, VT
The deep color of high cocoa-content chocolate topped with an exquisite mocha crown. Nose of alcohol: could use more hop and malt flavors that are also missing on the palate. My samples were on the thin side and slightly acidic, without the richness and complex flavors generally associated with this noble style. Good malty flavors do come through in the aftertaste. The beer redeemed itself with a rare organic, bacon cheeseburger and fries.
- Charles Finkel
Dark mahogany, but in this style, Black is Beautiful. In brewing, as in music, pitch is everything. The tar-like aroma restores expectations, as does a certain oiliness, but where is the roasty espresso note? This is milder, a mere mocha. Lively, though, with plenty of liquorice. If I added rye whiskey to this one, I would blend in a little Herbsaint. Could go well with beignets and café brûlot in New Orleans. And what about St. Petersburg? Sure, so long as you are thinking Florida...
- Michael Jackson
Smells like double chocolate, chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, just a little burned on the bottom. Not as intense or alcoholic (8.5% ABV) as many modern Imperials, allowing softer, subtler aromas and flavors to surface. Molasses and caramel emerge, sweet malt balanced by underlying smokiness, dry cocoa, earthy hops and gentle alcohol. Smooth, almost creamy, but for the bitter chocolate. All the elements of a beer to cellar.
- Stan Hieronymus
Founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co., Charles Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of craft beers in America.
Author of Ultimate Beer, the Simon & Schuster Guide to Beer and numerous other works on drinks, Jackson has created legions of converts to fine beer.
Editor at Realbeer.com, a professional journalist for 40 years and amateur brewer for 15, Hieronymus is the author of four beer books, including Brew Like a Monk.
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