Yes, folks, I had the Dark Lord, and it was.......unbeeelievable. Tuesday was the final installment of the free beer tastings at Cork & Bottle featuring stouts and porters exclusively for my 100 beers 30 days challenge. (Wipe the tears). But never fear, faithful beer drinkers. We will continue in December with some delicious Winter brews. Go beer!
Jared, our fantastic and lovable beer and wine fella from International hosted 4 brews to tantalize our hungry, dark palates. With his knowledge, he became our Captain O' Captain as we circumnavigated the globe in our sensory canoe. Thank you Jared for your support and all of the delicious tastings this month! If I could stand on a desk as you left, I would.
BEER # 81
Baird Kurofune Porter: ABV: 6% I was really looking forward to this beer, as I had heard a good bit about it, and all reviews had been positive. And being an AVID lover of all things Japanese, I am always interested in any beverage brewed in the land of sake, sushi, kabuki theater, geisha, ninjas, and Akira Kurosawa.
Unfortunately, there was not nearly as much on the nose as I hoped, but there was some perfumey (see how I love to add a y to just about any adjective?)notes...Then, aha! Walnuts! And that is the ONLY beer I have consumed thus far that was so specifically that one lone nut. And not a toasted or candied walnut you find on those fancy nouveau salads, but a raw, freshly shelled walnut. Pith and all.
That nuttiness follows through on the palate, with only a touch of baking spice and pepper. The mouthfeel is light and soft, which in and of itself is not a huge flaw, but of course I would have liked to have seen much more here. It's like they got revved up, started to make a really interesting beer, and then just pooped out. I think this beer has potential, but lacks the dimension to make it a world-class beer.
BEER # 80
Eel River Organic Porter: ABV: 5.8% As you might remember, I had already imbibed on the Eel River Raven's Eye, and while it was drinkable, I thought it had some wrinkles in the linen, so to speak. (Check out review #49)
So admittedly, I was a tad skeptical of this beer, but earnestly hoped this one would show a bit better. And as luck would have it, a grin spread across my face when I tasted it. Nice! Aromas of roasted maltiness, vanilla and dark honey danced around the glass with a few lightly roasted coffee beans.
The palate was ultra smooth with clean corresponding notes from the nose and a touch of tobacco on the finish. While like its brethren, it does not stand out particularly as organic, I will say the crisp purity of the notes calls for pause. Or is it the power of suggestion working its little abracadabra on my brain?
It simply isn't as clear-cut when tasting beers of this caliber to differentiate between organic and non-organic/traditional. Meaning, could I pick it out in a blind-tasting lineup? Mayyybe the Bison Organic because for me, it truly stands in relief to other brews. But honestly, its improbable. And I blind-taste on a regular basis. This is not like fresh produce here folks. I think you can, without a doubt, pick organic eggs, fruit, and vegetables from non-organic. The taste is sometimes dramatic. Beer is MUCH more difficult. Again, particularly because stouts and porters are such speciality brews to begin with, and are the heart and soul of many craft brewers. Whether they use organic or not, I would guess they employ the best ingredients they can find and afford. This isn't like the macrobreweries guys.
At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and could drink several of these with NO problem. Not too sweet, which I find as an issue with many porters, this one is clean and easy. If only everything else in life could be...
BEER # 79
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite: ABV: 6.5% Well this beer is just downright delicious. And I have been staring at it in the cooler of Cork & Bottle everyday for three weeks waiting to taste it. Practically salivating at the thought of a stout brewed with vanilla bean and coffee. As one of my favorite customers remarked, it has been "the rumble in my tumble" all bloody month. And Tuesday was the night to finally taste it.
I tell you guys that Brasserie Dieu du Ciel makes some damn fine beers. Up there in Montreal, Quebec. But be forewarned, they aren't cheap. An 11.2 oz bottle will run you upwards of 5-6 duckets. But, without a doubt, they are worth every penny. Their Rigor Mortis, Corne du Diable, and Route des Epices, amongst others, are delicious and wonderfully unique. And they make SO many!! Click here to see their list!
Anywho, this beer had EXACTLY what I wanted and expected in the nose. Tons of comforting vanilla aromas and flavors. In fact, from 2/3 to the finish, it tasted like vanilla bean ice cream. Delightful! Add to that an intoxicating nose of the highest quality brewed coffee, and you have yourself a beer you want to wrap yourself in like a warm winter blanket. Actually, I want to be under my down comforter on a cold evening drinking this and watching a movie. Or Spongebob Squarepants. Either one.
Highly, highly recommended. My only caveat is that like ice cream, you can only consume so much. This is not a beer for guzzling or seeing how many you can put away like pints of Ben and Jerry's. Take it slow folks.
BEER # 78
2009 Three Floyds Brewing Dark Lord Imperial Stout: ABV:13% Well, I'm just gonna say it, HOLY WOW. I mean @$%*. This beer is just incredible. If you can believe it, I, your loquacious beer girl in the field, was speechless the first few minutes of smelling and drinking this brew. Ok, so it was only about 30 seconds, but it FELT like minutes.
My rosy cheeks(I flush like a maiden during courtship when I drink) were brighter than red delicious apples as I slowly sipped and savored this monster from the underworld.....
I have decided to simply list the notes that literally exploded from our Riedels like machine gun fire on D-Day. It was a literal sensory assault here people. No joke. I could hardly keep up.
EVERY time I stuck my sensitive schnoz in the glass, a new aroma filled my nose and twisted my brain into origami. I have never been so simultaneously confused, exhilarated, and dumbfounded over a beer in my life.
And to be honest, the count on that level of sensory experience in wine is numbered. As Jon said, "It almost transcends the category of beer or beverage." Yeah, peeps, it's that intense. So onto the list, and try to imagine these all effortlessly mingled together, yet boldly standing in relief of each other. It's a liquid riddle....
Soy. Tamari. Dark, dark cocoa. Coffee. Fresh baked honey wheat bread with nuts. Floral perfume. Japanese plum. Vegemite. (love it!). Toasted sesame. Molasses. Bittersweet chocolate. The most extracted intense dark syrup you have ever smelled. (Maybe it's the blood of the Dark Lord)
This was the most layered, penetrating, alluring, intoxicating nose of any beer so far. Ross, the beer warrior who was so incredibly kind to share this refugee from another universe with me, said without flinching, "This is beer porn." You said it.
The down side? The same thing that is it's up side. It's so incredibly dense and mind-bottling it completely destroys your ability to function thereafter. My last quote of the night before excusing myself to seek the blackness of sleep and dreams, "The Dark Lord has clouded my brain. There is nothing else tonight." I rest my case.