I Am The Beer Whisperer
Beervangelist, Prolific Beer Drinker, Purveyor of Wisdom and All Around Good Guy!
Howdy Doo Buckaroos and how the heck are you? As the weather cools down and we head into the holiday season, it’s time for big & bold craft beers.
Roast Me, Toast Me, Decoct Me And Chuck Me In A Barrel!
Oh Yeah Baby, That’s What Daddy Like!
As much as I hate the cold, I love the big malty, high ABV fall/winter beers. Getting a start on it, yesterday I had 4 stouts and a doppelbock for good measure.
Don’t get me wrong, at some point during the season I will have an IPA, but I am enjoying these big ol’ brews.
So Cheers Y’All and enjoy all the big beers available to us and I’ll virtually share as many as I can with you!
THE COFFEE STOUT
Pictured are 3 fine examples: Public House Brewing, St James Mo
Giddy Goat Coffee Milk Stout
Mother’s Brewing, Springfield Mo
Winter Grind Coffee Stout
And …. 4 Hands Brewing St Louis Mo
Zellige Moroccan Coffee Stout
Three distinctively different interpretations of a coffee stout.
The Mother’s Winter Grind is a classic American Stout married with locally roasted coffee.
The Giddy Goat from Public House is a coffee milk stout, slightly sweet giving the illusion of coffee with cream and sugar.
The Zellige from 4 Hands, a Moroccan Coffee Stout is exactly what it sounds like. Brewed with enough spices to satisfy the Hipster coffeehouse junkie that tries it!
I cringe when I hear,”I don’t like that style”. Almost every style has dimension and sub-styles. The coffee stout is a perfect example. They can be as simple as a coffee stout or a coffee milk stout or you can even spice it up a bit, coffee house style. You can even go “Imperial” on it’s keester or barrel age it.
The point being, any one of these 3 would be a perfect brew in lieu of coffee after your holiday dinner.
Traditionally, the barleywine is a high ABV beer anywhere from 8% ABV and up with no particular grain bill.
Pictured are 2 fine barrel aged examples, The First:
Mother’s Foggy Notion: An 11% Barleywine aged in Madeira barrels.
They haven’t brewed this in a couple of years due to difficulty in procuring the right barrels, and was just brought back for this 2017 Vintage.
Big, rich & malty, oaky and a tad sweet with sherry notes from the Madeira barrels, a perfect fireplace sipper for those chilly fall/winter nights.
Boat Town Brewing Barley’s Whine: A whiskey barrel aged barleywine from a small craft brewery seemingly in the middle of nowhere doing some amazing brews, this being one of them.
This was an unexpected gem! Forgive the reuse of adjectives, but it’s big, rich, malty & decadent finishing oaky dry with a hint of lingering whiskey notes.
Because there are no clear style guidelines, the barleywine can consist of any mash bill. So, although this beer is always big & malty, flavors, viscosity and IBU’s can vary greatly with the English variety typically lower in IBU’s and American varieties typically hoppier.
Once a lost style, now found and thriving!
According to style guidelines they run between 7% and 12% ABV, but from my experience most seem to run between 8% to 10% , but the one pictured is 7.8%.
It’s the Springfield Brewing Co. Double Track Doppelbock
You taste rich, bready malts and as per style has low or no residual esters.
This style seems to be most popular with older beer folks like myself with younger folks leaning towards hoppier styles. For me, this is a classic and a perfect fall/winter brew!
And Now, As Promised …
The Holiday, Double/Imperial IPA
Oh Yeah Babe!
The classic perennial fresh hop IPA, Sierra Nevada “Celebration”!
First brewed in 1981, it’s one of the earliest American craft examples of the style. 6.8% 65 IBU’s and showcasing the Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops, this fresh hop IPA is a classic and shows that the IPA can be a perfect cold weather beer.
The Double/Imperial IPA
What I love about this style is it can be as mysterious as the Barleywine. The one pictured is the White River Double Gravel Bar, 9.2% 90 IBU’s. While this one is more of a nouveau IPA, lighter in body and color and very fruity. Other than big abv and hopped to high heaven, there isn’t any rules.
Case In Point: Sierra Nevada Fresh Hop Double IPA
Yes indeed, a double IPA really can be that dark and not called an India Dark or Black IPA, in fact, there was a time when the Double was primarily that color.
The point being a style doesn’t have to be one dimensional and this one in particular, being full bodied, earthy & herbal, is perfect for winter drinking
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA!
Making it’s first appearance in my neck of the woods is this masterpiece.
Listed as between 15% – 20%, 120 IBU’s. It almost belongs in a category all by itself as somewhere between an IPA and a Barleywine.
$36 a 4 pack, making it about $10 a beer with tax. Even being the tightwad that I am it’s worth every penny. I popped one open on Christmas eve and it sure hit the spot.
B-B-B- Barrel Aged Baby!
My earliest recollection of this style is the Bourbon Barrel Stout. And although they’re still widely done, you can also see virtually every beer style barrel aged. From spirit barrels, to wine barrels to just oak, they do add flavor and dimension.
My thoughts on the AB-InBev owned Goose Island Brewery aside, you can’t deny that the BCBS is a classic example of a bourbon barrel aged stout.
I refuse to wait in line for anything, but I found this the Monday after Black Friday just sitting on the counter with a handful of it’s friends for $11.99. For that price I decided to revisit the classic.
BCBS aside, barrel aged option are abundant these days.
The MILF for instance! No, No, No, get your mind out of gutter, the multi-barrel masterpiece from Mother’s that typically comes out in Feb. However, they do variants that they release throughout the year. Pictured is their Brandy barrel variant that is exquisite!