Friday, January 16, 2015

Southern Tier 2XPresso

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1262) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 16, 2015
Coffee stout is a readily available beer style by now, so if a brewery is going to release one they need to do something to make it stand out from the crowd. Southern Tier 2XPresso has some cache to it in that it’s a strong milk stout base (at 7.5% ABV) and is also brewed with lemonpeel. That’s not a spice you tend to associate with this style of beer. Unfortunately, it’s a very subtle ingredient, but at the same time the final product is still a solid, if familiar, coffee stout.

I poured a 12oz bottle into my official Southern Tier goblet. It was bottled on 12/10/14 and cost $3.15 ($0.26 per ounce).

Appearance: Deep brown/black hue, nearly opaque with some translucent highlights. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Deeply roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Not sweet.

Taste: Some coffee stouts tend to taste like alcoholic iced coffee. Others, like Southern Tier 2XPresso, are more like gourmet cold press French roast espresso (or whatever the appropriate descriptor would be – I’m not a coffee connoisseur). It starts out with a strong note of dark chocolate; reminiscent of higher-end gourmet chocolate. Nearly as bitter as it is sweet. Through the middle, the hops kick in with a firm dry bitterness. On the finish the espresso character bursts through and creates for a tasty coffee flavor that’s quite bitter but really bold and refined. It’s only as the beer goes down that the lemonpeel emerges – mostly as a subtle sensation on the aftertaste. Also, the lactose sugar appears to be lacking as far as flavor goes; creating for a slight tang or dairy sensation (that’s an ingredient used more for mouthfeel, anyway, so it’s forgivable). Overall, this is the kind of palette that you want in a coffee stout and to that end, this beer does its job well.

Drinkability: Southern Tier 2XPresso is one of those brews that’s not quite intense, but more than just medium-bodied. At 7.5% ABV it has a sturdiness to the body, but the mouthfeel is a bit thinner, more highly carbonated, and less sticky or cloying than you’d assume. There’s no alcohol presence to distract from the palette. It’s quite smooth and is as satisfying as a Blackwater Series imperial stout, but without the density and raw weight. 
Grade: 8/10

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