Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada Stout (2011 original review)

Happy "International Stout Day"! Yes, such a thing exists. Who makes up these so-called beer holidays, honestly? Well I thought this "holiday" was a good excuse to finally review Sierra Nevada Stout. I never got around to drinking this beer ever because when I think of this brewery I think of IPAs and pale ales. They seem to get those styles done pretty well - what can they do with a generic American stout style?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (562) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 3, 2011

I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body; thick, creamy, khaki-colored head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell: Light dairy scent - similar to melted vanilla ice cream. Sweet aroma, little indication of roasted malts.

Taste: Describing the taste of generic American-style stouts and rating them is a very difficult thing. Few have any distinct qualities that make them stand out from the pack. Stated differently: they all pretty much taste the same to me and so does Sierra Nevada Stout. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though. Sometimes playing by the rules is a good thing.

The beer begins with a lively sweet flavor, much like the foam on a mocha frappacino or a vanilla/chocolate soft serve ice cream cone that’s melted. It gives way to light, general, coffee-like bitterness. Then there’s a short burst of roasted malts on the finish. Somewhere in there is a touch of dark chocolate - which I think is a flavor created as the palate transitions from lightly sweet to lightly bitter. While there’s no flaws with this beer per se, there’s nothing particularly exciting about it, either. It tastes good, not great - and no, I really can’t elaborate further than that.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, soft, creamy texture. Very subtly dry aftertaste but otherwise mostly clean.

Drinkability: It’s hard to believe that this beer is 5.8% ABV, as that seems quite hefty. The mild palate, medium body, and smooth clean finish make it highly sessionable and certainly very quaffable. Not sweet enough to be a dessert beer and not roasty enough to stand up to a robust meal - just a good beer to enjoy on its own and how I’d recommend drinking it.
Grade: 7/10

NOTE: Read my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here: