Every autumn, Stone Brewing hosts a little festival devoted to the thickest, strongest, and gnarliest dark beers on the planet. They call this event, Pour It Black. On October 19, 2014, I attended for the very first time.
Thus begins my “live” blog of the intense, oily, dark, and downright delicious.
1. Amager/Mikkeller/Hr. Frederikson Væsel Brunch Barrel Aged – 10.7%
A barrel aged version of this collaboration between two Danish breweries (although Mikkeller technically isn’t a brewery) – A complex, espresso-centric brew
2. The Bruery/Beachwood BBQ Mrs Stoutfire – 9.5%
Thinner mouthfeel and heavier on the wood smoke flavor than Smoking Wood (what my wife affectionately refers to as the, “hotdog beer”) in my opinion
3. Avery Tweak – 16%
Like drinking cake and ice cream mixed with incredible, robust coffee beans. This beer used to be known alternatively as Mephaddict or Coffeestopheles.
4. Belching Beaver Horchata Imperial Milk Stout – 5.4%
Sweet and spiced, like a pleasant chai tea. A very enjoyable milk stout.
5. Firestone Walker Winter Wookey – 10%
Blended Black IPA and Barleywine yields a robust, sweet, caramelized flavor that’s unobtrusive and pleasant.
6. Stone Imperial Russian Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels – 11.5%
An immutable benchmark in the world of barrel-aged beers. Stone’s IRS is already something special, but they do a heckuva job aging it to boot.
7. Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels – 9.6%
This was perhaps the most special of the brews I was able to try (2001 IRS was gone by the time I got to the bar, alas). Stone’s 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout was and remains a fan favorite. Trying a variation of it aged in bourbon barrels was just an unexpected extra.
8. Stone Mikhail’s Odd (2013 Espresso Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels) -13.9%
My first time trying this one, which was released as a special 500ml bottle earlier in the year. The 2013 “Odd Year” release of Espresso Imperial Russian Stout is pitch-perfect. I cannot heap enough adulation upon the barrel aged version.
9. Midnight Sun Moscow Rye Russian Imperial Stout – 11%
A deceptively-strong oatmeal stout. Thin mouthfeel and roasted, burnt sugar flavors aplenty.
10. Bear Republic Cognac Barrel aged Old Baba Yaga – 11.5%
Aroma of cognac. Flavors redolent of cognac and peaty peat smoke. Overall not bad, just very full-frontal with the cognac.
11. Deschutes Black Butte XXV – 11%
Aroma like wholesome bran cereal, flavor like a potpourri dish of dried stone fruits. Tremendously gratifying.
12. Avery Mephistopheles Stout – 15.43%
The penultimate beer! Only slightly-less booze-tastic than the Tweak. Every bit a towering Imp Stout.
13. Great Divide Belgian Yeti – 9.5%
Yeti is a great beer. Making a Belgian version of it = good. Not as awesome as Espresso Oak Aged, but solid through and through.
I still had two tasters left to go… however, time ran out and they closed down all of the stations 😦