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Category Archives: Stout

Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon Russian imperial Stout

12.5%

Bottled

Pours pitch black, no light shows through even with a camera flash held directly behind the glass. Smells very strong and malty, with a bit of coffee or chocolate and a big kick of alcohol. The first taste is a tiny bit smokey, with some good espresso and cocoa coming through. At the end you get that same big ol’ kick of booze you got from the smell.

Impression: This beer does not drink as heavy as you would expect from the color. It goes down a little bit lighter than a lot of stouts until you hit the alcohol on the back-end. It is easy to forget on the front end how big this beer it, but once you put it down and get that burn you can’t mistake it. This beer could you just a little bit more creaminess, but as Russian imperial stouts go, this is pretty good. Make sure you sip this one slowly, because it will catch up to you pretty quickly.

It is very important to make sure this is not too cold. When I first sipped it, it was quite a bit too cold. The full aroma of the beer really got shut down when it was too cold. Even more concerning was the fact that there was a bit of a funky taste in there somewhere. When it was too cold there was almost an aspartame type metal flavor. After giving it about twenty minutes to get closer to room temperature, the metallic flavor was gone, the aroma was much better, and the alcohol flavor back off a lot. This is a whole different beer when it is at the proper temperature.  If you are drinking this, keep it at room temperature, throw it in the fridge for ten minutes, and drink up.

Grade: B+

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Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro

6%

Nitro-Bottled

Pours black, mildly translucent if you hold it up to light. Smells a lot like the traditional Left Hand Milk Stout, but not quite as strong. Smells a bit like a Guinness, but without any harshness to it, a bit smoother. Once you taste it is coats the tongue a bit. A very nice traditional stout flavor that gets that little bit of milkiness to it.

Impression: The Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro bottle has been getting a lot of press recently. Left Hand has been touting themselves as the first craft brewery to bottle with nitro and today marks the roll out of the brew throughout Boston for the first time. The reason that this one is so big is the lack of a widget, most breweries that use nitro add a little widget to break up the nitro as it pours, the main example of this being Guinness. Left Hand spent millions to keep the widget out of their beer, and still have the nitro work. What it does give the beer is an intense creaminess that you don’t get in the standard milk stout. I was really big on the milk stout when I first had it last year, but I think this takes the cake. The best part about it thought is that Left Hand has decided to keep both CO2 and Nitro versions available. That is great news for anyone who may like the more effervescent  quality of the CO2, and folks who like the smoothness of the new Nitro version. The smooth back-end makes this one of the most drinkable stouts you will find. Left Hand will be rolling out this beer across the country for the next month or so. If you can’t make it to the Boston area to find this one, just be patient.

Grade: A-

Tröegs Java Head Stout

7.5%

Bottled

Dark brown, edging on black and fairly well opaque when held up to a light. Smells a bit like coffee, but with definite notes of both bread and sweetness. Taste is lighter than expected based off of the color and gravity of this beer. Small amounts of coffee with a bit of a chocolate note, tastes a bit like a stout brown ale hybrid.

Impression: The Java Head is good, but it is not perfect. Tröegs has a great reputation and I was expecting a lot from it. Maybe I was expecting a bit too much. This is a beer that I would drink any day, but I do not know that I would go out of my way to drink it. One thing that this beer has on it’s side: it is quite strong for the price you’ll pay, you will get good value out of it. I enjoy it while it is in my glass quite a bit, but it does not draw me in. If you are looking for a stout that you could enjoy with your morning breakfast, this is not a bad option. It does not fall into the trap of adding too much coffee, and completely masking the beer. Definitely a beer worth trying, it has many good points, and I may be a bit harsh on it because of my expectations, but overall this is a very passable beer.

Grade: B