Posts Tagged 'imperial stout'

A week of Stone at Flying Saucer & Petrol Station

By now you’ve probably heard. If you haven’t, you’re not reading the right blogs or following the right Twitter feeds.

For six straight nights starting tomorrow (Monday, Feb. 15), Houston beer nerds will be in for an awesome vertical tasting. Two of the city’s best beer bars (Flying Saucer and Petrol Station) have teamed up with Stone Brewing for an event they’ve dubbed “Stone’d for Six Days.”

Each night, one of the bars will tap a keg of Stone Imperial Russian Stout, beginning Monday at the Saucer and alternating locations until the finale on Saturday (Feb. 20) at Petrol.

Each night will feature a different vintage of the IRS, beginning with the 2009 and ending with the 2005. Wednesday night will feature a bonus: a bourbon-barrel-aged version of the 2008. Here’s the full lineup, courtesy of the preview post on Beer, TX:

-Monday, Feb. 15: 2009 IRS at the Flying Saucer
-Tuesday, Feb. 16: 2008 IRS at Petrol Station
-Wednesday, Feb. 17: bourbon-barrel-aged 2008 IRS at FS
-Thursday, Feb. 18: 2007 IRS at PS
-Friday, Feb. 19: 2006 IRS at FS
-Saturday, Feb. 20: 2005 IRS at PS

This is a big deal. Stone opened up their stash of aged and rare awesomeness for this event, and word is that Stone head honcho Greg Koch will be down here for at least part of the time.

One last note — Stone Imperial Russian Stout is damn good beer. I reviewed the 2007 IRS last December (when it was nearly three years old) and loved it. And just a few days ago, 29-95 posted a review of a vertical tasting of the IRS, with the 2009, 2007 and 2005 vintages.

I can’t wait to get this thing started tomorrow. I hope to see a lot of Houston beer lovers at some point during the week. And I’ll make sure to post updates on our Twitter feed, @beernerds.

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BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran, BrewDog-Stone Bashah

BrewDog Brewery is a relatively young microbrewery, founded in 2006, in Scotland. They’ve gained some worldwide notoriety with the recent release of Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a 32% abv monster widely considered the strongest beer in the world (to date, anyway). BrewDog describes it as an “uber-imperial stout”:

“This beer began life as a 10% imperial stout 18 months ago. The beer was aged for 8 months in an Isle of Arran whisky cask and 8 months in an Islay cask making it our first double cask aged beer. After an intense 16 month, the final stages took a ground breaking approach by storing the beer at -20 degrees for three weeks to get it to 32%.

For the big chill the beer was put into containers and transported to the cold store of a local ice cream factory where it endured 21 days at penguin temperatures. Alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water. As the beer got colder BrewDog Chief Engineer, Steven Sutherland decanted the beer periodically, only ice was left in the container, creating more intensity of flavours and a stronger concentration of alcohol for the next phase of freezing. The process was repeated until it reached 32%.”

Madness. I don’t think I know anyone who has tried it yet, but reviews are decidedly mixed.

Anyway, a handful of BrewDog offerings have made their way to Houston in the last few months, and we’ve sampled a couple.

BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran

BrewDog’s Paradox series features imperial stouts aged in different whisky casks. The Isle of Arran edition is Batch 016, weighing in at 10% abv.

It pours a solid black with no head (likely due to the abv). The nose has some smokiness and a hint of sourness (the cask, perhaps?).

The taste is very bold. There is some sweetness upfront with a hint of raisins. However, this changes very quickly into smoky alcohol. The more you drink the more the alcohol taste seems to take over. While the concept sounds interesting this is not one of my favorite imperial stouts by a long stretch.

The nerds at Beer Advocate give it a B+.

BrewDog-Stone Bashah

It just makes sense that BrewDog and Stone would hook up at some point, given both breweries’ obvious penchant for big and bold beers. Bashah is classified as a Black Double Belgian IPA — in other words, this thing is unique.

It pours solid black with a small caramel head. In the nose, there is some sweetness but also a faint hop presence as well as some alcohol.

The taste has a little more going on. There is a definite hop presence for such a dark beer (but understandable for a Black Double Belgian IPA). However, it is very well balanced and definitely has some malt presence as well. Upfront there was a wee bit of funk in there, but it dies off as the hops build up in the back of the palate.

This is my favorite BrewDog beer by far.

The nerds at Beer Advocate give it a B+.

Site update, and the “Beeriodic Table”

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. Call it a holiday hangover. We certainly haven’t stopped drinking good beer, though, and that should lead to more content soon. We’ve also been active on Twitter, so if you’re following us there you’ve gotten a taste of all the good stuff we’ve sampled.

Speaking of “we” — I’m excited that a couple of the other Nerds are really close to writing their first posts for the blog. This was never intended to be a one-nerd operation, and I’ve pestered the other guys enough that they’re close to contributing. So keep an eye out for some different voices and viewpoints. Just remember that we’re all nerds, and we all love good beer.

One last thing: I received this link from a number of different people over the holidays. It’s a version of the Periodic Table, but instead of displaying chemical elements, it lists beer styles. A friend of a friend noted that it should be called the “Beeriodic Table”, and who am I to argue with that?

It’s pretty cool. Its best feature is the way it gives you a visual look at how different beer styles are related. If you know you like a certain style and you want to expand your palate, check the table for directions.

Let’s say you like Guinness, but you haven’t tried many other stouts. Guinness is considered an Extra Stout (or Irish Dry Stout, or Export Stout, depending on where you look and where you get it). Both Dry Stout and Foreign Extra Stout are on the Beeriodic Table. Below those styles, you’ll see Sweet Stout and Imperial Stout, respectively.

So next time you feel like a Guinness, push yourself a bit. Look for something such as a Mackeson Triple XXX or a Young’s Double Chocolate on the sweet side, and a Great Divide Yeti or Lagunitas Cappuccino on the imperial side.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2007

I’m going to cut right to the chase here — the 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout is delicious. Absolutely delicious. Please understand that you’re going to see that word — delicious — over and over in this post. There’s no way around it.

I’ve had my fair share of good Russian imperial stouts — Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, North Coast Old Rasputin, Bear Republic Big Bear Black, Great Divide Yeti and Oak-Aged Yeti, Victory Storm King… the list goes on and on. I’m pretty sure that it’s my favorite style of beer.

Stone’s is among the best. I drank two bottles of the 2008 late last year, and at less than a year old it was very good. My notes finished with this: “Somewhat in your face but still awesome.” I could tell that it would only improve with age, and online reviews confirmed as much.

Last night, the Flying Saucer tapped a keg of the 2007 Stone IRS. Jake and Asa (two of the nerds that run the place) told us that it was brewed in February 2007, meaning it was 34 months old when we drank it.

As I’ve already said, it was delicious. I’m not quite ready to call it the best Russian imperial stout I’ve had. But it’s close, really close. On to my full review…

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2007

It’s pitch black, plain and simple. I tried to get something else to come through with some backlighting, but it didn’t happen. It’s black. The head out of the tap is one-finger thick, bubbly, creamy and latte-colored. It slowly and stickily recedes to a splotchy cap and eventually nothing at all. Despite initial signs of stickiness, there’s not much lacing.

The nose is delicious. I smell all sorts of sweet, chocolatey, luscious malt. There’s also dark fruit and molasses and… I could go on, but I need to stop typing and start drinking.

It’s absofreakinglutely delicious. It’s no longer raw and in your face. Jake called the younger one “rough around the edges” — this is anything but. There’s bittersweet chocolate and a bit of coffee and just a touch of fruit, and it’s all melted together in one deliciously malty package.

I’m not really getting any hops. There’s a very small hint of bitterness in the finish, but I won’t call it outright hoppiness. There’s no doubt that the hops faded over time, but there is definitely something balancing the beer out — despite the huge and sweet malt load, it’s never overwhelming or one-sided.

There isn’t a hint of alcohol in the nose or taste, but it only takes a couple of sips for the alcohol to warm the belly. For a beer with an abv right around 10%, it’s remarkably subtle.

The mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat chewy and just a bit fizzy. It’s not extremely thick, but still quite nice. It’s a fitting part of the package.

The Stone 2007 Imperial Russian Stout is top notch, top drawer, elite, as good as it gets — you get the point. I’m so glad I’m aging a handful of 2008 bottles, but it’s going to be really hard to fight the temptation to crack one open soon.

A+ (The nerds over at BeerAdvocate give it an A)

Another night, another rare beer at the Saucer

Quick post/update tonight — headed to the Flying Saucer for a glass of 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout. I drank a couple bottles of the 2008 last fall and loved it, so I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve got a handful of bottles of the 2008 aging, too, so it’ll be nice to get a taste (ahem) of what’s in store for them.

For those who may not have had a Stone IRS or even heard of it — it’s awesome. The nerds at BeerAdvocate give it a strong A, which pretty much puts it in elite company.

OK, enough typing, I’m off to the Saucer.

Strong night at the Saucer

Those of you following our Twitter feed, @beernerds, already saw what went down — really good stuff at the Flying Saucer tonight. They hosted their annual Beer Knurd party, and tapped a handful of rare, strong and quality beers — Avery Czar, Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, North Coast Old Stock 2008… and, of course the guest of honor, Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 9.

We’ll hopefully post full reviews for these beers soon. In the meantime, just know that it was a great night and a great lineup. Those of you following us on Twitter (@beernerds) already knew that…


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