Tagged: imperial stout

Cigar City California Brandy Hunahpu

Cigar City California Brandy Hunahpu
Cigar City California Brandy Hunahpu

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2%
Bottled: Spring 2013
Size: 750ml bottle
Price: $25
Bottle Count: ~2200 (rumored)

Ah, yes. The Huna variant that had me racing up to CCB over and over just to find that I was either too late, too early, or just plain there on the wrong day. Six trips and I came away with nothing. It was pretty frustrating to find out that people were walking with a case or more when I couldn’t seem to score a single fucking bottle. And finally I got lucky and got some on the last day that they were releasing them to Tampa peeps. So was it worth all that? Let’s find out.

The pour is… well, it’s Hunahpu. Huge mocha head, I’ll throw in the obligatory cliched motor oil comparison, and it looks like you could stand a spoon straight up in this bastard. Smells like barrel — or at least some barrel, I wouldn’t have guessed brandy, maybe whiskey of some sort. The cinnamon and spice of the base beer are nowhere to be found in the nose. The flavor has a bit of that upfront, but now the barrel is strangely muted. Plenty of vanilla and some peppery heat, and lots of cinnamon in the finish. It’s definitely a big beer, but doesn’t quite dominate your palate like previous Huna variants did.

Okay, it’s good. But other variants are better. I’d have to put this one below the ’11 and ’12 variants but better than regular Hunahpu. Specifically, ’12 Apple Brandy > Rum > Bourbon > Whiskey > Cali Brandy > regular Huna. Worth trading a bunch of shit for? Yes, without a doubt. It’s still better than 90% of the BA beers I’ve had. Go get you some.

Westbrook Mexican Cake

Westbrook Mexican Cake
Westbrook Mexican Cake

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
Bottled: Spring 2013
Size: 220z bottle
Price: $10
Bottle Count: unknown

These days everyone is trying to make a Hunahpu-killer, and while no one has dethroned the king, this is the closest one I’ve tried so far. The basic approach is the same — take a big, viscous stout, then add cinnamon, cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, and chilis. The pour is nice and thick, looking very Huna-esque with a solid dark head. Smells kind of peppery, with the vanilla and cocoa in large amounts. Then the first few sips… Nice enough, with a decent amount of cinnamon jumping up with the vanilla. Then the fire hits you. Westbrook doesn’t fuck around here; they used habaneros so as to leave no doubt that they hate your digestive system. A solid peppery burn that lasts for a good ten minutes or so and makes me think I’m gonna hate myself come morning. But I keep coming back for more.

I actually had a couple of growlers of the first batch of this, and they had nowhere near this much heat. I have to say that I like the new batch better. We blended some of batch one with some Blushing Monk to make a sort of raspberry flourless chocolate cake-ish beer, which was totally delicious.

I got a few bottles of this and I’ve already gone through two of them. I guess we can add this to the list of beers that I’ll continue to chase down.

Jackie O’s Rum Oil of Aphrodite

Jackie O's Rum Barrel Oil of Aphrodite
Jackie O’s Rum Barrel Oil of Aphrodite

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10%
Bottled: 2011
Size: 22oz bottle
Price: $20
Bottle Count: 206 (for this batch)

I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with Jackie O’s so far.  Dark Apparition was a drain pour, and I don’t even want to get into the mouth rape that I got from Hocking Triple.  So this is the third of the three bottles that I got in a trade, and I have to admit that my hopes are not exactly high.

It pours nice enough, thick and mocha-y.  Huge rum notes in the aroma, a little chocolate, pretty good.  The taste… hmmm.  I get the nuttiness of the walnuts, and the rum is definitely there, which isn’t bad.  But damn if this thing isn’t really, really hot.  Like rubbing alcohol hot.  It’s big and makes itself known, and not in a good way.  We choked down our glasses easily enough, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as its two predecessors, but for something that seems to be highly sought-after, this was yet another letdown from Jackie O’s.  Fool me once, blah blah… I suspect that this’ll be the last one I bother trading for.

Perennial BA Abraxas

Perennial BA Abraxas
Perennial BA Abraxas

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%
Bottled: Summer 2012?
Size: 750ml bottle
Price: $23
Bottle Count: 720

Kicking off our impromptu tan whalez tasting with this bastard.  I’ve had this a few times now (although this is the first real non-midwest-one-oz pour I’ve had), and it’s delivered every time.  The aroma is pure Cinnamon-mutherfucking-Toast Crunch, sweet and spicy in the right ways.  The flavor isn’t quite as good, but still worthy of the rarified air that this resides in.  Tons of cinnamon and vanilla, a little heat from the barrel, and plenty of sweetness.

I’d say that I’m off to try to land some more, but it’s becoming such a pain in the ass that I think I might wait until the next batch.  Although if someone out there is interested in swapping one for BA Hunahpu, then I’ll probably be up for it.  Dammit.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken’s Stout

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken's Stout
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken's Stout

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.2
Bottled: March 2010
Size: 750ml C&C bottle
Price: $11
Bottle Count: Unknown

This is holding up really well for a three year old bottle. I thought this was really great when it first came out, and it’s still a solid non-BA stout. Most collaborations turn out mediocre at best – I’m looking at you Deschutes/HotD Collage – but these Sierra 30th turned out pretty good (even the bock, with you can still find on shelves today).

I still have a few more so we’ll see where it goes over the next couple of years.

Troegs Impending Descent (Scratch #83)

Troegs Impending Descent
Troegs Impending Descent

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.9%
Bottled: Dec 2012
Size: 12oz bottle
Price: Unknown (trade)
Bottle Count: Unknown

Solid imperial stout from Troegs’ limited/small batch series. This should be in their regular rotation, not sure why they don’t make this year-round (or maybe they do any I just haven’t heard about it).

Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout

Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout
Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 12%
Growlered: April 2013
Size: 32oz grumbler
Price: $19
Bottle Count: n/a

I was pretty excited to get this beer in the mail.  I love pretty much all things Speedway — OG, Kopi & BA Kopi, BA Speedway, and now this.  BA and BA Kopi might be in my top 10 all time beers, right up there with Final Push and BA Hunahpu.  Only one problem…

Busted-ass growler
Why no flip-tops, Alesmith?!

Not sure if it was Fedex being their usual careful selves or if it was the sad little plastic caps that Alesmith bafflingly uses on their crappy growlers, but this thing arrived looking a bit like Eartha Kitt’s busted-ass titty.  Luckily it still had a little carbonation left, so it wasn’t a total loss.  The beer smelled fantastic, like I’d expect a high-end coffee blend in Speedway to smell.  It tasted unexpectedly like an alcoholic dark chocolate bar, which was a huge (and pleasant) surprise.  But I can’t help but wonder if it could’ve been better with some carbonation.

I’m at a loss to explain why a brewery like Alesmith, who has some stunning-looking silkscreened bottles, cheaps out and uses these Big Lots growlers with Playskool caps.  I see lots of breweries using big-boy growlers, from the 500ml and 32oz flip-tops used by CCB to the fat-belly 64oz flip-tops that Stone, Russian River, Hill Farmstead, and others are using.  I definitely wouldn’t have someone else ship me anything in one of those again.  Luckily I won’t have to; it looks like they’re going to do real bottles of this stuff soon.

Jackie O’s Dark Apparition

Jackie O's Dark Apparition
Jackie O's Dark Apparition

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
Bottled: 2012
Size: 22oz bottle
Price: unknown (trade)

This was a pretty big letdown.  Although the picture doesn’t quite look like it, this was nearly flat and pretty oily.  Lots of anise, soy, and ashy flavors combine with the meh mouthfeel for something that’s just unpleasant to drink.  I was only able to get through about 8oz before I threw in the towel.  Hopefully the Rum Oil of Aphrodite I just got turns out better.

Voodoo Brewing Black Majick

Central Waters Peruvian Morning (2013)

Central Waters Peruvian Morning
Central Waters Peruvian Morning (2013)

Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.5%
Bottled: Early 2013
Size: 12oz bottle
Price: $14/4-pack

No sign of infection on this guy, just smooth coffee stout-y goodness.  I had a couple bottles from last year that were pretty tart, so I was sitting on two more 4-packs that I had gotten in trades.  Turned out I had nothing to worry about — after opening several bottles from them all have been fine.  Maybe I just got one bad pack.  Lots of people complaining about this year’s batch too, but I guess I’ve been lucky.

(edit: I just opened a 2012 and got bit by the infection issue.  Maybe I’m not so lucky after all…)