Monday, April 16, 2012

Brewmaster's Series Coffee Stout

Long Trail teams up with Vermont Coffee Company to bring us a wonderfully crafted coffee stout. The grains play more of a forward role than the addition of coffee which keeps the beer's integrity and only enhances the experience by playing a supporting role - the beer's base style is an Imperial Stout, which typically does not include coffee or other adjuncts. Be sure to also check out the brewery's new website design!

Alcohol Content: 8.0%
IBU: 50
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Chocolate, Caramel, and Black Patent
Hops: Columbus
Adjuncts: Vermont Coffee Company Dark Roast (specially roasted for Long Trail)

Price: $3.50/ half; $6.50/ full
Medium: 8oz snifter

Aroma: A roasted profile typical of imperial stouts is more consistent with the roasted grains that resemble a coffee aroma, as opposed to a forward coffee bean aroma. In other words, I believe the profile to be less of a direct result from roasted coffee beans, which play more of a supporting role to the malts. Some bittersweet chocolate notes. Hop aroma low to none. Esters low to none.
Appearance: Practically opaque looking or black - I could see a slight garnet hue around the edges but this was under bright light. Some darker browns towards the end of the session/ last few sips. Strong visible carbonation with a creamy dry stout appearance. Persistent mocha/ brown head with lingering bubbles and lots of lacing.
Flavor: Bittersweet coffee notes start with a roasted barley character finishing. A balance of hop bitterness plays its role mid palate - fairly clean at this point. Finish is also characteristic of dried fruit, with a distinct tart mouthfeel. Malt sweetness is not cloying. Yeast character fairly restrained. Roasted malts continue into the aftertaste. Favored somewhat towards malts but the hop bitterness supports well.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a pleasant and slightly fruity tartness. Strong carbonation with moderate creaminess. Neither cloying or drying. Alcohol content is masked quite well by the big malt and coffee profile. I will also say that this beer cut through all of the hoppy beers I was previously sampling that day; a great finish to the night. Just add raspberries for a delicious combination.
Overall Impression: The company's suggested food pairings include beef, smoked meat, wild game, and soft Brie cheese. After discussing with the bartender, we also came up with dark raspberry chocolate desserts or lava cake. Otherwise, a dark bitter chocolate would be another great pairing.

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