Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moa Imperial Stout

Whoah, two collab reviews with of imperial stouts we got in trades IN A ROW?! Yup. Jay got this beer in a trade with a fan from all the way in New Zealand! But that's not all, we specifically reviewed this beer on a Wednesday night because we were being photographed and interviewed by one of our local newspapers for a feature story that should be out soon. We were so excited we could care less about this special beer (nah, just kidding!).

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (636) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2012
From the bottle presentation, the fact this is from a country whose beer I’ve never tried, and considering that it weighs in at 10.2% ABV, Moa Imperial Stout wasn’t anything radical or unique. Unless you consider a beer this big relatively mild and well-balanced a unique thing.

A friend of mine received a 375ml corked and caged bottle in a trade with a fan from New Zealand. We split it and each poured it into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Completely opaque black body with no other visible colors; forms a surprisingly large dark tan frothy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: Mild nose with red grape scents; chocolate syrup, and a hint of black licorice.

Taste: The beer begins with a relatively sweet taste up front - reminiscent of a typical milk or oatmeal stout. But unlike a lot of other beers of the sort, the palate to Moa Imperial Stout doesn’t change on a dime, but is a gradual transition to something bolder. There’s a subtle tanginess of red wine which gives way to milk chocolate and eventually dark chocolate. We drank this noticeably warm and it wasn’t all that bitter until we got to the last few sips. There doesn’t seem to be much coffee taste per se, but the dry bitterness is there. It’s noticeable in the aftertaste but easily tolerable. The label indicates the beer was aged in Pinot Noir barrels which imparts that subtle fruit and sour flavor, but not real woody or earthy taste. In the end it’s a satisfying brew although it seems like more could’ve been done.

Drinkability: Since this was a corked bottle that’s also bottle-conditioned I was expecting Moa Imperial Stout to be quite lively, but it’s just the opposite. The mouthfeel is a little thin and flat, although the head does give it a slightly creamy texture. It goes down remarkably smooth and has almost no density or friction even though it’s pretty big at 10.2% ABV. Even though I only drank about 6oz I didn’t feel it at all. In fact, which I was drinking it I was wondering if this wasn’t something closer to 5 or 6% that had been mistakenly labeled. Those who are new to imperial stouts would do well to give this one a try.

Grade: 8/10

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