I took advantage of the freezing weather to turn Saturday into a “Texas stout night”. I didn’t even have to go shopping to do it. I had leftovers from New Year’s Eve — a bottle of Saint Arnold Winter Stout and a can of Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout — and I decided to top it all off with a bottle of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9.
I’m going to post full reviews of the first two. I’m saving my full review of DR9 for some other time — maybe a Divine Reserve night? — but I will say that I love it and saved it for last.
Onto the two Texas stouts:
12-ounce bottle, purchased in a 6-pack at Spec’s Downtown, poured into a Real Ale pint glass.
As I’m pouring, the beer looks relatively light for a stout. It’s dark brown with some ruby and maybe even dark orange highlights. As I’ve mentioned before, I like my stouts full-bodied, so it’s a poor first impression. The head is light tan, just less than a finger thick, a bit bubbly and puffy. It doesn’t last long, and leaves virtually nothing behind.
The look may be slightly disappointing, but the nose turns things around nicely. It smells of dark, roasted and slightly sweet malt, with some coffee and even a decent amount of chocolate.
The taste is decent, if unspectacular, and worse than the nose. The biggest feature is again roasted and sweet malt, with a bit of coffee, but I don’t get any of the chocolate I noticed in the nose. It also tastes a bit more burnt than the nose, and even a touch watery. There are some hints of fruit, too.
The body is better than it looks. I would call it about medium for a stout, if not slightly fuller at first. It feels a bit lush and there’s a touch of chewiness. Still, as I get closer to the bottom of the glass, I realize that there’s nothing enduring, either, and the body ends up a disappointment.
I’m trying not to complain too much about Saint Arnold Winter Stout, because it’s decent for sure. It’s also quite drinkable — maybe too much so for a stout, let alone a winter one. At times it promises to be quite good, while at others it seems like a lightweight stout (or even porter).
B- (The nerds at Beer Advocate give it a B)
12-ounce can, purchased in a 4-pack at Spec’s Downtown, poured into a pint glass
The beer pours a dark but relatively translucent brown, with plenty of medium-brown highlights. It’s extremely carbonated out of the can, immediately filling more than half the pint glass with a thick, spongy, light-tan head. It’s somewhat sticky at first, and on the way down it leaves decent lacing, thick and slightly runny.
Even through the humongous head there’s plenty of nose — sweet roasted coffee and some bitter powdered chocolate. It’s interesting and really makes me want to try it. So let’s go.
I taste bitter coffee and a slight touch of hops, then some bitter dark chocolate. I think there’s some vanilla, too, and a subtle but tangy touch of alcohol. Despite that bit of evidence in the flavor profile, the 8.5% abv is well-hidden.
The mouthfeel is good and somewhat different — it’s creamy but at the same time not thick, with soft and smooth carbonation.
Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout is interesting and tasty. It’s not elite, but it’s certainly good. Every sip is slightly different, and it makes me keep coming back for more. I’ll drink this again, without a doubt.
B+ (The nerds at Beer Advocate give it an A)