It's time to clear out my "beer cellar". I actually reviewed this beer when it was fresh back in 2012 (link below). I'm not sure why I decided to sit on my extra bottle for 2 1/2 years! Would it improve with age? Watch and find out.
I poured a 22oz bottle into an official Brown’s tumbler.
Appearance: By far THE darkest beer I’ve ever seen! Liquid is as black
as a black hole and it forms a huge, extremely dark brown, almost black
foamy head. The lacing and retention on this beer is fantastic.
Smell: The usual imperial stout aroma of black licorice, black cherry, plum, and a touch of grain alcohol.
Taste: Because Brown’s Imperial Stout pours such a thick, foamy head,
that initial taste of that initial swig is quite bitter. It’s a dry
bitterness of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Once the liquid passes
the tongue it’s a whole new ballgame. Strong sweet notes of black cherry
and plum with slight black licorice as it transitions to the finish.
The final third of the palette is similar to the opening with the
bittersweet flavors of dark chocolate, French roast coffee and just a
touch of alcohol. It’s like a rum without the spice or a clear liquor
with a touch of cinnamon.
That’s not to say this beer is absolutely delicious. There seems to be a
noticeable lack of roasted malt and the sweet elements seem a little
cloying. That being said, the balance of the palette overall is
impressive as the sweet side never becomes sickly sweet and the bitter
side never becomes too dry.
Drinkability: The bottle indicates the beer is 10.4% ABV, but the
brewer’s website says 10.2%. So either way, you can tell Brown’s
Imperial Stout is a pretty hefty beer. But unlike most double-digit ABV
stouts, there is little to no alcohol presence here. Only the faintest
hint of alcohol warmth, which is fine because it blends well with the
natural tastes of the beer. The mouthfeel is fairly thick, but extremely
soft. One of the most comfortable beers I’ve ever had, actually. The
aftertaste is a tad dry and somewhat sticky, but easily tolerable. This
would be an ideal pairing with dark, gamey meats or drank alone as a