Nursing a hangover and a headache that made me run clear into my bathroom door frame (way to go champ), I dragged my tired and yet excited behind over to watch the Saints/Panthers game at my friend Mike’s house. With my Zapps’ BBQ potato chips, of course. And for a variety of reasons, I ended up drinking cold Peroni instead. Always good in a cinch, that super cold, light beer brought me back to the living…..
After my heart returned to its normal rate, and my throat stopped hurting from yelling, I headed over to my sister’s house for round 2 of Kim and Laurie’s Dark Beer Sessions. (I feel like there should be a picture of us seated leisurely in leather chairs, smoking pipes with dogs at our feet)
BEER # 25
Bison Brewing Organic Chocolate Stout: ABV: 5% I have been holding on to this one to try with my sister, because I thought she might just like it. And boy did she. I was expecting a dark, dense, viscous liquid to come out, something like the Rogue Chocolate Stout. I was surprised, but not disappointed by the lighter dark brown color that emerged from the bottle. I was still nursing a hangover from Saturday nights drinking extravaganza, so I was more than okay with it.
Whoa. Lots and LOTS of nuttiness on the nose. Lovely roasted aromas, in particular roasty, toasty almonds. This beer has a nice, smooth mouthfeel. All the flavors are balanced. There is very little bitterness on the the finish, but frankly you don’t need it here. There’s no density or intense sweetness to counteract.
I am impressed by its pure, clean aromas and flavors. Is this because its Organic? I don’t know, but with several other Organic brews on my list, I want to find out. Is there a difference, or is it just the power of suggestion? To be continued….
I would recommend this beer to those just setting sail into the dark seas of stouts and porters. Easy going, smooth and not too weighty, it won’t rock your boat too much. As for my final beer of the night, well that’s a trip into the abyss…
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout: ABV: 5.7% Okay, so we are all clear that I did NOT enjoy the Farsons Lacto Milk Stout. But not one to be swayed by one unpleasant encounter, I was determined to give Milk Stouts another go. And in the presence of my sis, who was there for the last debacle. When I pulled it out of my bag, she looked at me with raised brow and said, “Ohhhh nooo.” But having heard good things about Duck Rabbit, and its a North Carolina brewery (Go Heels!), I just knew it was going to be a better experience.Or I sure hoped.
And……whew. I was right. Super roasty aromas on the nose, but unlike the nuttiness of the Bison, this carried more burnt aromas. What is that? Wait for it….wait for it…..its burnt popcorn. I am not EVEN joking. With butter. Yep, and I assume that butter aroma along with milky notes that emerge 2/3 into the palate through the finish is that lactose that is added to the brew. The buttery aroma was transient, but the milky aspect hung on. Particularly in the bottle. While it remained on the nose and palate, it completely died off in the Riedel. The aromas developed to include roasted grains and coffee as it warmed.
The biggest aspect to this beer without a doubt is the burnt, roasted notes. You HAVE to like these kind of aromas to enjoy this beer, because they are unmistakable and assertive. It was a little too much for me, as that was really all the beer gave out. But overall, it was not offensive and a huge step up for Milk Stouts in my book.
Side note: This beer is brewed in Farmville, NC, near Greenville and ECU. I wonder, do ECU students drink this for their breakfast? It would be a good subsitute for milk and coffee…
Haand Bryggeriet Double Extreme Imperial Wheat Stout: ABV: 9.1%
Guys, seriously I don’t even know where to start. The name alone is forboding as hell. My first go at it was at the beginning of the Saints game. But not feeling so hot, and with not an ounce of food in my stomach, and seeing the motor oil that slowly poured into my Riedel, I shudder, and make the reasonable decision to hold this monster off until later….
Later, after a big lazy dinner of macaroni and cheese at my sister’s house and a heart-pounding and exhausting Saints win, I am feeling almost as good as new, and ready for another go.
This beer is unbelievable. And a beast. It pours out thick and as black as the darkest corner of the universe. The head is dark brown, dense and unyielding, and it coats the glass. Hold it up to the light and ya got nothing. Opaque as pure espresso. And friends, it drinks like it too. Just like cold espresso with a bit of sugar for kicks. And sure enough I get the head rush I expect. Something akin to taking a long drag off of a cigarette when you haven’t smoked for years. Yep, makes you a wee bit dizzy.
There are definitely wheat aromas, specifically freshly toasted bread. Also lots of dark,dark chocolate (I’m talking 70% cacao or higher folks) and coffee on the nose. There are some dark fruit aromas, but they are coated in that intense dark chocolate. Sweet concentrated aromas somehow manage to penetrate through, particularly blackstrap molasses. As time becomes irrelevant, the aromas become more heady, and you can smell the alcohol. It fills the nose. There is an expected bitterness on the finish coupled with a significant drying effect, which in a beer of this weight, you absolutely need.
This beer needs to be served in small doses, and in a port glass. Seriously. It would be amazing with a dessert like tiramisu or a flourless dark chocolate cake. Drinking this solo in the quantity given is tough for me to imagine. Unless it was cold outside (read: snowing), and I am curled up under blankets watching a movie or reading a book. Even then, I would recommend sharing this one with others. Plus, there is so much to talk about this beer! This is a MUST TRY for all beer geeks out there. Sip on it like a cognac, and discover one of the darkest beers in the universe.
P.S. Do yourself a favor and go to the Hand Bryggeriet website. Its wacky and the photos are great. I have posted some here. They proclaim of the Dark Force, “In spite of being an all malt 9% alcohol beer its fairly light in body and easy to drink.” HAHAHAHAHAHA, oh my eyes, I can’t stop laughing. Wow, those Norwegians sure have a sense of humor.
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I spoke with Duck-Rabbit’s brewmaster at Lighthouse beerfest and he told me he would set up a tour of the brewery if I called him. I got his card so if time permits when you’re home over Christmas we can try that out. Maybe we can get our hands on some of that Black Mocha Stout, which may or may not mysteriously arrive at your house later this week.