Sunday, August 25, 2013

VT Pub & Brewery - Handsome Mick's Irish Stout

The Handsome Mick's is a stronger version of stout also known as a foreign extra stout or traditionally export stout. This one was served on nitro, or with a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas. This type of mixed gas will add to the creaminess or smoothness of the stout's rich, roasty character. It is common practice to serve stouts, such as Guinness, on partially nitrogenized gas.

Alcohol Content: 4.5%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Price: $2/ 8oz; $4/ pint
Medium: 8oz was served in a small handled mug

Aroma: Very rich and roasted grain profile with bitter coffee and chocolate notes surfacing. This is quite dominant and distracting from its sweet malt nose. Lightly burnt aromas do not detract from its pleasantness. No diacetyl/ other fermentation byproducts nor hop aromas. No sign of alcohol sharpness within its warm, rich malt character.
Appearance: Black - the bar offers very little light to see more complex colors so I would say pretty much opaque. Large persistent tan head with large bubbles billowing and lingering on top. The pour was slow and steady to reduce the head from foaming over. A thick 8oz handled mug glass seemed like an appropriate way to show off the head while aiding to the "pub" feel.
Flavor: Warm malty sweetness approaches an overly burnt roasted grain character. Bitter chocolate notes are more profound in the middle to finish while the roasted grains shine through in the end. Fairly sweet like a sweet/ milk stout but even more flavor and richness. I detected some sharp graininess in the finish and aftertaste. Little to no hop flavors. While moderately low bitterness from hops still exist, I believe there is an additionally perceived bitterness from the grains. Overall malt accentuated.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a creamy texture undoubtedly from the partially nitrogenized gas. The brewpub likes to serve all of their beers on a moderately low carbonated system to give that old pub feel, and the nitrogen substitution lends even less carbonation. The warmer serving temperature also aids to an easy-drinking experience for a beer that is so rich and creamy. Stays smooth despite the grain profile.
Overall Impression: This one is way too rich and fulfilling for an everyday beer. I suggest skipping the main course and pairing it with a strawberry cheesecake for a fruity dark treat. If looking to pair it with a meal, then choose something with lots of flavor to match up against this full-flavored beer. Otherwise, save this one for last and keep the samples small if you want to switch things up (8oz was more than enough for me).

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