Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Troegs Java Head

The last of the beers donated to the show by (thanks again, guys!). I haven't reviewed a coffee stout or a Troegs beer in a while, so let's snap two streaks in one episode.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (700) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 24, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Typical opaque black/dark brown body. Forms a dark tan, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Prominent stout aroma of roasted barley and subtle chocolate and coffee notes, but a surprising hop presence of citrus and pine.

Taste: I’m a fan of coffee stouts, but it’s never occurred to me that a coffee stout could or should be deliberately hoppy (notice I said hoppy, not bitter - there’s a difference). That seems to be the idea behind Troegs Java Head - a coffee stout with prominent hop character. Strong citrusy bitterness to begin the palate, very reminiscent of a classic American IPA. Through the middle is a smooth, silky, slightly sweet stout taste of roasted barley and a quick kick of coffee flavor. As it finishes there’s a dank resiny character which brings the palate back full circle to the original hoppy character, but this time it’s piney instead of citrusy. A surprisingly clean aftertaste, especially considering this beer has both big time hops (60 IBUs) and coffee in it.

What’s most surprising about the actual bottle I drank was that it was bottled nine months ago and yet the hops had not faded at all. In fact, I think the coffee and stronger stout qualities may have succumbed a bit to age. There was a layer of goo on the bottom of the bottle so perhaps this beer is bottle conditioned which would partially explain why it’s kept so well for so long.

Drinkability: This is pretty much the perfect mouthfeel and drinking experience I like in a beer of this nature. Not thick and viscous and far from watery, Troegs Java Head has a medium body and perfect carbonation level. It’s not quite velvety, but closer to silky - and it goes down extremely smooth. At 7.5% ABV it’s not nearly as heavy as those numbers would indicate. I think most drinkers would be able to put away two 12oz bottles or a single 22oz bomber by themselves without any trouble.

Grade: 8/10

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