Samuel Adams Coffee Stout Review

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It’s been out on the market a while, but recently I got around to having my first taste of the Samuel Adams coffee stout. It’s always sounded like an interesting combination to me, as it manages to combine two of my favorite drinks in one. I’ve long been a coffee lover, and every day is started with me warming up my Nespresso pixie espresso machine, so I can pour myself a shot.

Here’s what Samuel Adams have to say about their coffee stout:

“Our coffee stout is a dark brew that combines roasted coffee with a rich, full-bodied stout. For the authentic coffee flavor, we use 1.5 pounds of Sumatran coffee beans per barrel, added late in the brewing process to provide the most flavor possible. This brew finishes with underlying roasty notes of chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit from our select blend of malts.”

And then there is this, more specifically about the coffee input:

“The Sumatran coffee beans are roasted to nearly an espresso level roast to ensure the strong coffee character. It is added late in the brewing cycle to capture the most flavor possible.”

This certainly sounded good to me, as Sumatran espresso is my favorite kind. The Samuel Adams coffee stout is similar in style to traditional English stouts, and it has quite a full bodied flavor. The coffee taste is very noticeable, and maybe is just a little too strong in the mix in my opinion. There is also a subtle hop flavor and aroma, which helps somewhat to balance out the complex flavors of the coffee and malt. The bitterness of the drink was nicely in balance, with a nice sweet edge making its presence felt. There are definite tastes of chocolate and nut, with a strong roasted flavor. Mouthfeel reveals quite a high level of carbonation.

Overall, I think it still needs a bit more work. There’s potential there, but I think the overall balance of the flavors is not quite right. I think maybe toning down the coffee slightly would result in a better tasting stout. I notice that it has received similarly luke warm reviews from other people who have posted about it online. If Samuel Adams want this one to really take off, then I think they are going to have to give it a bit more thought and experiment further with getting the right mix. At the moment I can definitely take it or leave it, and probably won’t be rushing out to buy more.

Second Schlafly 20th Anniversary Label Approved

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Schlafly has received label approval for the second beer to celebrate their 20th Anniversary, Hop Toddy Ale.  This beer should be hitting shelves in March in very limited quantities.  As with the first Anniversary Beer, Schafly has brought together brewers past and present to create this experimental beer.  This time they brought together brewer James “Otto” Ottolini, had of brewing operations at the Bottleworks, and Sarah Hale and Jack Petrovic, members of St. Louis’ local food movement.  They have created a wheat ale made with local wheat and honey, with the addition of lemon.  It was then dry-hopped with Citra hops and then aged in bourbon barrels.

On Schlafly’s Facebook page, brewer James “Otto” Ottolini describes the beer:

Description #1 – “ Volume # 2 in the 20th Anniversary series for Schlafly Brand Beers is Schlafly Hop Toddy Ale. This beer was brewed by the brewers who started between 1992 and 1997. Using a local farm connection which grows raw unmalted wheat was one of the elements of this beer. It is a slightly stronger wheat beer with an ABV of 7% aged in bourbon barrels. It has a light amber color mainly from the Honey Malt used in the brew, a heaping helping of locally grown wildflower honey as well as color pick up from char in the bourbon barrels. There is a citrus quality to this beer as well from both the use of lemon juice and Citra hops in both the kettle, whirlpool and dry-hopping. The combination of honey, citrus and bourbon flavors is reminiscent of a Hot Toddy and was a theme from which we worked this variation. Quite frankly we don’t know what to expect from such a beer, but look forward to when it is ready. We hope you enjoy this sampling of our personal stamp on the discovery and wonder of the art of exploration in brewing.”

Description #2 – “We don’t really know what this beer is going to taste like. But we look forward to trying it when it is ready. We hope you do as well.”

Boulevard Chocolate Ale Label Approved

Chocolate_Ale_fin_ttb-300x241Chocolate Ale from Boulevard Brewing is a collaboration from the fine chocolatier Christopher Elbow, and it will be available to buy at some point in the near future. 

As the label has now been approved the only thing now required if that this exciting product is state registered to allow for distribution.

From the label:

“One of the brightest of Kansas City’s culinary stars, Christopher Elbow has earned a worldwide reputation for his handcrafted chocolate masterpieces. His sweets are distinguished by their use of unusual, sometimes surprising ingredients, and that adventurous spirit has left its print on this special ale. The aroma is given over to earthy, fruity cocoa, with just a hint of hops. Smooth layers of dark chocolate intertwine with threads of caramel, vanilla, and nutty malt as the flavor warms and rounds to a bittersweet finish.”

I am really looking forward to this beer, and I am incredibly jealous of anyone who has had a chance to have a sneak peek taste.

Are You Feeling Lucky? – Stone Lukcy Basartd

stone-brewing-225x300It is all but official, Stone Brewing is coming to Missouri. KC Beer Blog reported that a couple of Stone sales reps were in the Missouri scouting distributors and warehouse locations in St Louis and Kansas City. Once Stone does go live, which should be sooner than later, I’m expecting some pretty amazing beer events to celebrate.

I wanted to get a jump on the game, so I worked out a trade with one of my favorite beer bloggers, The Beer Buddha. We both cut our teeth over at BeerAdvocate, and progressed to beer blogging around the same time. The Beer Buddha covers the Nawlins beer scene like no other. I sent him some Show-Me State goodies in exchange for Stone Lukcy Basartd, Stone’s 13th Anniversary beer that is a blend their flagship Bastard ales, Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Double Bastard. The Bastards are super hop-forward strong ales, and one of the originators of the American Extreme Beer trend.

22 oz silk screened bottle, poured into a Karmeliet tulip. A gentle pour produces a thick, custard colored head, The consistency of the foam is creamy and milky. Lacing is gorgeous, very delicate bubbles slide across the glass. The body color is the same as the brown bottle glass.

Smell is a harsh and aggressive pine hops with some alcohol back burn. There is a woody resin aroma in there around the edges. This is kind of pungent. The taste is equally aggressive, but at least there is an attempt at balance from the caramel malts. There is just a hint of vanilla. But over all it is like fresh pine and spruce needles. It is sharp and biting. Even though it is only 8.5% ABV, there is a definite alcohol rub.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of active carbonation. The body itself is smooth where flavors are harsh. That creates an interesting contrast. Stone is not afraid to challenge their drinkers, and that is why so many craft beer fans love them. I have had all three of the base beers for Lukcy Basartd in the past. Blended together, I feel that the Double Bastard is the dominant beer. Since Lukcy Basartd is a one shot anniversary beer, I doubt it will be part of the Missouri launch. However I do anticipate picking up the other Bastards.

Schlafly No 20, Volume 1 – Imperial Pilsner

schafly-164x300Schlafly is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with four special brews. Each beer will be a collaboration with brewers past and present. The first release, an Imperial Pilsner, was just released in Kansas City in very limited quantities. Most stores around town were only allocated one case. Only the largest volume stores got two. Because of the scarcity, there was a limit of one per person when I bought my bottle. If you are interested in this release, I would go out now to get yours.

750 ml bottle poured into a Schlafly Kölsch stange glass. The first poured gives a three finger tall, powdery white head. Lacing is minimal and spotty. Body color is a deeper straw yellow than a traditional pilsner. I would think this is due to the increased malt bill. The body still has the clarity of a good pilsner. I can read the bottle information through the glass.

Smell has an interesting shift as the beer breathes. With the first pour there is a clean, grassy hops aroma. After a few minutes it shifts to a dry cracker smell. Towards the end it becomes a heavier bread aroma. Through out the smell shift, the taste pretty much stays the same. A very slight floral hops flavor with a hint of grass. The primary flavor is a doughy malt character.

The mouthfeel is heavy. In fact this is one of the heaviest Imperial Pilsners I have ever had. This bottle is nearly more than I can handle on my own. Not so much for the 9 % ABV, but more for the density. This is a very different Imperial Pilsner than Boulevard’s version from last year.