Founders Breakfast Stout

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan,breakfaststout-label Founder’s Brewing Company has grown into one of the nation’s top craft breweries, with annual barrel output approaching the 1 million mark. Don’t be fooled though, founders (see what I did there?) Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers brew for quality, not quantity. A prime example is their Breakfast Stout! Available each fall/winter season, this Imperial Stout is brewed with coffee beans, chocolate & oatmeal. The result is one of our favorite cold weather pours.

ABV: 8.3/ IBUs: 60

Pour: Very dark brown, almost black. Think heavy weight motor oil!

Head: Dark tan/toffee, almost brown.

Nose: Bitter dark chocolate, coffee beans, nougat candy bar.

Palate: Bosco chocolate syrup right off the bat! Think that sip of syrup from the bottom of a poorly stirred chocolate milk when you were a kid (or an adult). A hint of sweetness emerges on the mid-palate. This is where you really taste the oatmeal notes.

Finish: Bitter chocolate, black coffee.

Overall: Wow. This one is a big time winner, once again! One or two of these make a cold night a whole lot better. ABV is noticeable, but not offensive by any means. Definitely grab a four pack.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Pints

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Southern Tier Creme Brulee

Southern Tier Creme BruleeIn operation since late 2002, Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York is a fan favorite for craft beer lovers. Boasting an impressive portfolio of year round and seasonal brews, owners Phin and Sara DeMink keep expanding and pushing the boundaries of their vision. One of their newest seasonal beers is an Imperial Milk Stout titled Crème Brulee

ABV: 10%

Head: Nougat

Appearance: Dark chocolate brown to black

Nose: Vanilla, Caramel, very strong notes of butterscotch candy and vanilla icing.

Palate: Like a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing. Hints of burnt buttered toast (in a good way!)

Finish: Evaporates right off the tongue. No trace of the 10% ABV. The dark chocolate notes really come out here.

Overall: WOW! This one is a winner. Great to pair with dessert, or as its own treat. You can really smell the butterscotch from the other side of the table. 4.5 out of 5 Pints

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Left Hand Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

bittersweet-bottle-The Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, Colorado opened for business on January 22, 1994. Started by college buddies Dick Doore and Eric Wallace, the idea first came to light when Dick received a home brewing kit from his brother in the early 1990’s. Their first attempt was Sawtooth Ale, which has since become Left Hand’s most popular brew. Today, Doore and Wallace make over 3 dozen beers, distributed in 29 states. One of their limited offerings is an Imperial Coffee Milk Stout they lovingly named “Bittersweet.”

The beer pours an opaque deep dark brown that appears almost black in the glass. The one finger mocha colored head shows decent retention. Once the head dissipates a light lacing remains atop the beer.

Aromas of dark roasted coffee leap from the glass. While coffee is definitely the dominate note in the bouquet you’ll also find notes of milk chocolate, malts and roasted nuts. Rounding out the bouquet are notes of dark fruits, black cherry, and a hint of spice.

The palate starts with flavors of rich roasted coffee that presents with a certain bitterness. Next comes a sweet creamy lactose note. Along with the lactose you get notes of sweet dark fruits and chocolate. The sweetness succumbs to the rich, slightly bitter coffee note that lingers on the finish.

The appropriately named “Bittersweet” definitely offers up both bitter and sweet notes. A great beer from the folks at Left Hand that would pair perfectly with an aged cheddar, coffee crusted tenderloin or Tiramisu. 4 Out Of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints

Great Lakes Imperial Blackout Stout

great lakes blackout stoutGreat Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, was the first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio. Important to Cleveland’s local identity, the brewery distributes over a dozen year round and seasonal brews. One of their winter seasonal offerings is an Imperial Stout aptly named “Blackout.”

The beer pours an almost black color with ruby highlights when viewed against the light. The thin mocha colored head shows moderate retention and leaves behind some lacing atop the beer.

On the nose notes of dark chocolate leap from the glass along with notes of roasted coffee. Sweet dark dried fruit, almost raisiny mixes with a sweet caramel note. Roasted malts and hint of vanilla complete the bouquet.

The palate offers notes of toffee, dark chocolate and molasses. The mid palate offers dark roasted malts and almost bitter coffee notes. Dark fruit notes mix with a slightly boozy notes make you think of rum raisin. A creamy vanilla note mixes with a lighter chocolate component on the finish.

Great Lakes has done a Great Job. A littler less aggressive than many Imperial Stouts, but well balanced with a great flavor profile. Pair this one with blue cheese, duck with cherry compote or tiramisu. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out of 5 Pints 

Stone Chai Spiced Russian Imperial Stout

stonechaiStone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in San Marcos, CA. Since its inception, Stone has crafted some of the most insane and sought after beers. One of their “odd year” releases for 2015 is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with chai spices and black tea. This limited release brew is sure to have you saving “oh chai!”

The beer pours a deep dark brown that is almost black. The rich tan colored two finger head dissipates slowly and leaves behind just a light lacing a top the beer.

Chai spice aromas dominate. Notes of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove are discernible. Underneath the chai spice are notes of chocolate and coffee. Rounding out the whole sha-bang is roasted malt aroma.

On the palate, this full bodied brew delivers on the spice notes promised by the bouquet. The cinnamon and ginger hit first in tandem. The cardamom and the clove are next and met with a touch of sweet tea. As the spice settles, you will find stout notes of rich cocoa and coffee that with notes of roasted malts, balance the spice. A smooth warming finish completes the profile.

Another winner from Stone. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who isn’t a fan of Chai, but for those that are, it’s a must try. Pair this one with blue cheese, coffee rubbed filet or vanilla ice cream. PintRate-4

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out of 5 Pints

Southern Tier Warlock

Southern Tier WarlockIn operation since late 2002, Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York has quickly become a household name. Offering an eclectic portfolio of craft beers, many beer lovers search high and low to obtain seasonal and specialty brews produced by Southern Tier. Their Pumking is one example that customers make an all-out effort to get their hands on. It seems as though many fans are not aware of the Warlock, which is an Imperial Stout brewed with pumpkin and similar spices. Warlock truly is “brewed to enchant your palate.”

The beer pours almost black in the glass with deep burgundy hues when viewed against the light. The two finger tan head showcases decent density. It dissipates rather slowly and leaves behind a hearty lacing atop the beer.

Aromas of toasted hazelnuts leap from the glass. Notes of deep roasted malts, creamy chocolate and vanilla syrup all tantalize the senses. Somewhere amidst all these darker aromas you are flooded by notes of sweet pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. The spices are muted but notable and add complexity to the bouquet.

On the palate the beer doesn’t show the sweetness the nose offered up, but is still slightly sweeter than its counterpart the Pumking. The spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg hit first. These are intertwined perfectly with notes of fresh pumpkin. The creamy mouthfeel combined with notes of vanilla conjure thoughts of vanilla ice cream. All of this is compounded by notes of deep roasted malts and toasted hazelnut. Rich flavors of chocolate and coffee round out the palate and a hint of butterscotch seals the deal.

Warlock is a great beer to enjoy fall flavors and welcome colder nights. A successful mash up of what most would consider two different styles of beer. Pair with spicy BBQ ribs, smoked brisket or carrot cake. Warlock is also big enough to be a dessert all on its own! PintRate-5

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 5.0 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory