I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trying to be a Little Too Much

I enjoy most of the products of the Sweetwater Brewing Company of Atlanta, which recently turned 10 years-old.

I am, however disappointed by the recently-released bottled version of their Happy Ending Imperial Stout. When I had the draft version a year or so ago, I thought it was good.

From one of the reviewers on the Beer Advocate website:

"...Mouthfeel was quite thin for an Imperial stout and had a light bodied character. This Impy is quite disappointing and really lacks the balls and complexity that the style is known for. The hops were way overboard and made the beer very unbalanced."

From the Beer Advocate, here is a description of the Russian Imperial Stout category:

"Inspired by brewers back in the 1800’s to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol by volumes and plenty of malt character. Low to moderate levels of carbonation with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavours. Often dry. Suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols are quite evident. Hop character can vary from none, to balanced to aggressive."

On this 10 Best List of Russian Imperial Stouts, I have only had Stone Imperial Stout.

Echoing the more detailed opinion above, the "mouthfeel" was just a little too thin. The color was good, the head was good, but IMHO, Imperial Stouts are not the place to go looking for pronounced hoppiness. I don't know if it was the elevated hops that contributed to the thinness or not.

North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is a better example of this variety. So is Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

Leave the hoppiness to the Pale Ales and India Pale Ales (and I do enjoy the Sweetwater IPA).

In closing, I like hoppy ales and I like stouts, but I don't like the characteristics of the two mixed together. It is sort of like mixing picante sauce and cheesecake.
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