The winter of my dark-content has come to a close

Around 8 months ago I posted Now is the winter of my dark-content. Discussing how I’d never tried too many stouts and not given thought to them but was setting out to change that. It’s now spring and with spring comes the release of summer ales. While drinking a Sam Adam’s Summer Ale (my review) earlier this week and grilling a burger I decided it was time to reflect on my adventure into the world of stouts. Here are a couple of things I’ve discovered:

  • Stouts seem to be one of the most diverse sub-categories of beer. From 3.5% dry Irish milk stouts to 10% imperial stouts up to 19.5% bourbon barrel aged stouts!
  • Further on that point, if someone doesn’t like bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts they should not give up on stouts all together. Milk stouts (especially on nitro) have little in common with their barrel aged cousins and are almost a different beast entirely.
  • Don’t be afraid of dark beers. OK… maybe we should all be a little afraid of The Bruery’s Black Tuesday, 19.5% ABV is nothing to take lightly. However, it seems quite a few people who may love IPAs or Belgians have a “fear” of dark beers. There is nothing to fear unless you really hate coffee and chocolate… or are allergic to it, then yeah that’d be scary.
  • Bourbon barrel aged stouts are the stout-flavor of the day and get a lot of the attention. I don’t agree with the hype. I definitely love some of them like KBS and Parabola but others like BCBS are just far too much bourbon. But as André 3000 says, whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote.
  • I, personally, prefer porters to stouts. Stouts get a lot more attention these days then porters and I find that to be a shame. There are some amazing porters out there like Rivertown’s Roebling and Sixpoint 3Beans. Porters can have the complexity of stouts with a slightly lighter body.
  • If you don’t like a stout now give it a few months or years to age. Most stouts will age quite well with their flavor profiles changing over time. How long to age X beer is still a bit of a guessing game, so buy a few and try one every couple months. If you find a spot you love, drink em all!
  • There is plenty of focus on rare stouts but some things available every day like Victory’s Storm King kick plenty of ass as well!

I am very glad I did this and have a new found love and respect for stouts and porters. Am I gonna stop drinking them now that the winter is over? Hell No. First off they rock, secondly (and perhaps more importantly) my basement is suddenly overflowing with them, thirdly I have two in my fridge to review which are available in this area and supposedly bad ass. So keep an eye out for my reviews of Ale Smith’s Speedway Stout and Epic’s Big Bad Baptist, plus many many more to come!

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Beer Review: Guinness Extra Stout

Guinness doesn’t make many styles of beer, at least compared to most American craft Brewers. Making just the Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout regularly and then a small spattering of others which are mostly one offs. I wasn’t hugely impressed by the Draught, it’s a decent beer but not a good or great beer. I’ve heard amazing things about the Foreign Extra Stout but tonight I’m drinking the Extra Stout.

The Extra Stout has an interesting story behind it. Seems this is the original recipe for what we now think of as Guinness, according to Wikipedia the beer was toned down in the 70s to make it more marketable. That is why this same beer is the called Guinness Original across the pond. The other interesting, and far more important, thing is that this is brewed in Canada. That much is known from the label on the bottle, the following is a bit of varying info from the Internet. According to some sites Guinness exports the unfermented wort from Ireland to Canada to be brewed there. While that is all fun to know drinking is better!
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Beer Review : Rivertown Winter Ale

Last night Rivertown Brewing tapped this year’s first keg of their much-loved Winter Ale. Today I headed down to the, crazily packed, tap-room for a pint of this. I also scored a growler of Roebling and 2 bottles of Ville De Rivere Geuze so look forward to those reviews as well.
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