We took Mikkellers imperial stout Black and distilled it at Braunstein distillery. The alcohol we got out of it was storaged in American bourbon casks. Now distilled Black was poured into bottles, and as soon as the bourbon cask was empty we filled it again, but this time with our imperial stout Black.
In this way, one can say that Black has been barrel aged on itself.
Another great get together with the crew, with some of our recent hauls, some beers Richard brought back from his trip to Seattle and Bill’s birthday beers. This was our first tasting since I finally cleaned up the basement enough to have some beers down there. I have a few stools, a nice 8 foot kitchen prep table I’m using as a makeshift “bar”. The beer cellar is repaired, we’ve got this nice water jug/dump bucket system going (although I really want to get a glass rinser but I don’t think that is in the cards for a while) and I should have a couple more glass racks installed in the ceiling by week’s end. Plus the card table, surround sound system, and the dart board that folds into the ceiling I’ve had for a while now. I’m pretty happy with how the man cave “tasting room” is shaping up.
So after a pretty successful night of running around with Mike, we went back to Chez Fuj and met up with the rest of the guys and a couple of friends of Bill’s from NJ. The lineup for the night:
Tsunami Stout by The Pelican Pub & Brewery
Madame Rose (2012) by Goose Island Beer Co.
The Cowboy by Evil Twin Brewing – pretty much locks in my hatred of smoked beers
Oude Tart by The Bruery – delish, like all Bruery sours
Meadowlark IPA by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project – absolutely fantastic. Glad Bill brought this one to share, been meaning to try it for a while/
Curieux by Allagash Brewing Company – long time fave since first having it back in May. Richard hadn’t had it yet so I broke this one out from my Birthday Beers from Elise.
Hop 15 Ale by Port Brewing Company
Horny Devil by AleSmith Brewing Company – meh. Other than Speedway Stout and their IPAs not much has impressed me from AleSmith.
Survival 7-Grain Stout by Hopworks Urban Brewery – very solid, just like the IPA goofybear sent me
Sled Dog Trippelbock by Wagner Valley Brewing Company
Beer Hop Breakfast by Mikkeller
Black Hole Barrel Aged Bourbon by Mikkeller
Femme Fatale Brett by Evil Twin Brewing – Can’t get enough of this beer, really. Evil twin is killing it.
Rye Hopper Ale by French Broad Brewing Co.
Declaration by Backlash Beer Company
Fat Scotch Ale by Silver City Brewing Co. – Dave’s 500th unique Untappd beer
Other than Luscious, which we only incidentally opened because of Untappd, I don’t think any beer stood out as the clear “best beer of the night” or anything. A lot of really solid beers here, of all different types so it’s tough to compare. Fat Head’s never ceases to surprise me with that IPA, same with that Meadowlark. Black Butte was great, as was Curieux, Oude Tart and Madame Rose. No complaints here.
Richard acting a damn fool.
Dave showcasing pretty much how everyone felt by the end of the night morning.
A little bit of background here: I’m a complete weirdo when it comes to all things civet coffee, AKA Kopi Luwak, AKA (colloquially) “cat-poop coffee”. I’m kinda obsessed with it. I think the idea behind it is completely nuts and weird and strange and something most people don’t “get” or want to try which makes me love it even more.
For those of you not in the know, Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world at about $160 a pound. The reason for this is the process in which Kopi Luwak is made. They start with a variety of different coffee berries (which can lead to wildly different flavor profiles) and feed them to the Asian Palm Civet:
The coffee berries pass through the digestive system of the civet, are pooped out, collected, washed, sun dried and then lightly roasted. The digestive system of the civet slightly breaks down the coffee yielding a less bitter brew. Sounds awesome right?
There are only a handful of breweries making beers with Kopi Luwak, including Cigar City, Jester King, Jackie O’s and obviously Mikkeller. Cigar City’s Zhukov’s Final Push wins for having the awesomest name, but is damn near impossible to get your hands on. Beer Geek Brunch is definitely the easiest to find.
OK, let’s talk about the beer: Tons of coffee, chocolate and roasted malts in the nose, with some booziness, spice and an aroma from the apple brandy barrel present.
Extremely dark brown appearance, may even be black but tough to tell in the lighting. Completely opaque with a uniform body. The small-bubbled brown head dissipated quickly.
You get hit up front with the coffee and chocolate on the taste, which is followed up with dark roasted malts and just a hint of the apple brandy barrel and some heat. The booze isn’t overpowering and blends well for the 10.9% ABV and the style.
The beer has a full, creamy, silky smooth mouthfeel that coats the tongue a bit. There’s medium carbonation and little to no warmth from the alcohol.
Overall I was pleased with my first Beer Geek Brunch experience. I feel like the Calvados Barrel could have stood out a bit more but I have a feeling that will be made up in the Cognac Barrel Edition I’m holding on to (along with an insane 19.3% ABV Black Buffalo). After I find a regular Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Nuzzy and I can do a full on Beer Geek horizontal tasting. More on that to come.
Wheat Is The New Hops Tasting Notes – Grassroots/Mikkeller
Got yapping the other day at The Ruck with Dave. We were talking about his visit to Hill Farmstead and how I’m hoping to stop there during my week in VT next month, which prompted him to go grab a couple of Mikkeller bottles he picked up from HFS’s retail shop. This was the first of two.
The nose is misleading. You’d think that a beer that was touting wheat over hops would have a huge wheat presence but the nose was extremely hop forward, very similar to a standard hopped up IPA with some citrus mixed in. I don’t get much Brett in the aroma, either.
It also looks like your standard IPA, nothing special here. Clear yellow, no yeast or hops hanging around. White, foamy, creamy head with fine bubbles.
The taste is very different than the nose. There’s a very slight acidity and funk flavor from the Brett, beyond that the wheat completely takes over. It tastes like an IPA that’s been randalled through straw, really. Any kind of citrus trying to sneak it’s way out is Hulk-smashed by wheat. Mouthfeel was unmemorable.
Overall this is a different and interesting beer but that’s about it. Not unlike some of the weird DFH beers that are different just for the sake of being different. I walked away from this beer glad that I’ve tried it once, but not something I’d go out of my way to try it again. The next Mikkeller we opened I was much more pleased about…
All I can say is “WOW”. This place really impressed me. Even if Armsby Abbey didn’t have an incredible selection of stouts on tap I would have walked away with the same feeling. The stouts were just icing on the cake.
I couldn’t possible try all of the food and beers they had on tap for StoutFest but what I did try were impeccable. Here’s the skinny:
Breakfast Slate – Point and Ryes Blue and House Smoked Chevre from Crystal Brook Farm served with local Wildflower Honey from Honey, Etc., Housemade Breads, Cultured Butter from Vermont, House made Preserves and House Roasted Peanut Butter.
Hash – Adams Farm Braised Chuck, Carrots and Spring Ramps, Spring Onion, Soubise, 145 degree Local organic Eggs from Gibson’s Dairy Farm, Currant Gastrique
Bacon – Thick slices of our House Cured and Smoked Bacon made with Heritage Pork Belly from Adams Farm
Let’s get the beer out of the way: we didn’t have a bad beer here. I’m pretty sure all of them are rated 90 or above anyway, some creeping up to or at 100. I actually have all three of the Founders Breakfast Stouts in my cellar, I’ve just been waiting for the right day to crack them open and share with friends (need some more FBS and KBS before that happens). Since those beers are sitting in my cellar, I haven’t actually tried any of them and StoutFest was my first time enjoying them.
I’m not going to review every beer we had at StoutFest, but I will talk a little bit about the Founders beers as that was the main draw for me to travel to Worcester for the event. These beers are fantastic. FBS is your typical Imperial Coffee Stout. And by typical I mean awesome. Extremely drinkable with plenty of coffee and chocolate notes. KBS tastes like someone dumped a bottle of bourbon into a keg of FBS (some may think the bourbon flavor is too much, but I loved it). The CBS is very similar to KBS but with the bourbon flavor cut down a bit, a lot more creaminess and some molasses/vanilla sweetness picking up where the bourbon left off. Way more drinkable than the KBS in my opinion and the best beer of the day.
Now let’s talk about the food. We ate breakfast at a place called Mrs. Murphy’s in Southwick, MA as it was right around the corner from my latest Craiglist steal. (The Boston Cream doughnuts are on par with Balla Napoli.) Anyways, we weren’t that hungry but there was no way we weren’t going to grab some food at Armsby Abbey while we were all the way out there.
We waited until after we ordered our second flight to order something. Bacon was a must because seriously the cure and smoke it in house. How could I not order it? Elise wanted the cheese board, which when I saw the description looked pretty skimpy but when it came out I was impressed. Everything on the slate was delicious. The hash was definitely the fancy-pants-iest hash I’ve ever seen, and while I do generally like comfort food like hash un-fucked-with, the chef’s interpretation of this dish was great and it worked extremely well overall.
My experience at Armsby Abbey was pretty amazing. Food rocked. Beers were awesome. Place looks fantastic. Even has some outside dining we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of, but will. Please give me another excuse to drive all the way out to Worcester again and then take all of my money. Thank you.