Once again, G-LO darkened my doorstep with another request that I “split a beer”. Not one to be a bad neighbor, I begrudgingly (ok, so maybe not so begrudgingly) obliged. This bottle was the 2015 Stout X – Coffee from Boulevard Brewing’s Smokestack Series.
Boulevard has been a favorite of mine since my first trip to Kansas City for work. A couple of bottles of Boulevard’s Tank 7 and the fact that I was away from home didn’t seem so bad. Now, with a much farther distribution network, Boulevard comes all the way to Southern NJ. G-LO and his exhaustive searches found this new release and suggested we add it to the research queue. As we were headed to our respective parental dinners, we thought it best to split this rather high ABV bottle and then compare notes.
Before we begin the review, here’s what Boulevard has to say about the Imperial Stout Coffee Ale:
This first edition of our Imperial Stout “X” series, incorporates freshly roasted Ethiopian Sidamo beans from our friends and neighbors at The Roasterie. After fermentation is complete and the beer has been crash cooled with the yeast removed, our brewers transfer Imperial Stout into a sanitized stainless tank that has been fitted with bags of coarsely ground coffee beans. At this point, the beer is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Infusing the coffee at this temperature is similar to the cold toddy method of brewing coffee. The cold toddy method extracts far fewer acids from the coffee resulting in remarkably smooth, yet concentrated flavors. We allow the beer to rest on the coffee for a minimum of 24 hours before removing the beer from the coffee beans. Imperial Stout X – Coffee is not barrel aged.
The resulting beer is a marriage of huge, round, chocolate and caramel notes from the base beer, with smooth layers of sweet citrus and floral flavors and aromas from the coffee.
And, now for the review…
- Appearance: Deep, dark mahogany with a thick, tan head of foam.
- ABV: 11%
- Limpd: Wheat bread with a mix of baker’s chocolate and the faintest hint of coffee grounds. Once, the glass warmed, I found the chocolate and coffee flavors to be far more pronounced.
- G-LO: Rich and roasty with bittersweet chocolate and French roast coffee.
- Limpd: Light on the carbonation and a little thin. A bit like a viscous glass of chocolate syrup upfront and then a big blast of coffee mid-palate that last long into the slightly bitter finish. As it warmed, it got better and better and the progression of flavors was just fantastic.
- G-LO: Not as thick as I expected. I touch on the fizzy side. Lots of bittersweet chocolate at the start. Transitions to a mildly bitter coffee flavor as you approach the finish with a mild, coffee aftertaste. Lightly astringent.
Limpd: For an 11% ABV, I expected it to be a little thicker and boozier. I found it to be in a word, smooth. For a coffee ale, I expected to find more bitterness and instead found a well balanced and flavorful ale.
G-LO: Overall, a really nice RIS with a mildly boozy kick that is quite satisfying. Tasty stuff that is well worth seeking out!