brewery can make an imperial stout; you just throw a lot of malts and
hops together and as long as it doesn’t get infected chances are you’ve
made a pretty good brew. However, what separates the men from the boys –
so to speak – is the ability to make a nuanced imperial stout. The
North Brewery’s “King Stout” is an example of what I mean. It’s deep,
complex, well-balanced and very drinkable for such a big brew. Most
breweries of their size can’t pull this off.
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date.
It was given to me by the brewery at TAP New York (thanks, guys!).
Appearance: Inky opaque dark black color with a dark tan, foamy head which retains and laces very well.
Smell: Strong aroma of milk chocolate and deeply roasted malts. Some alcohol presence (slightly fusel).
Taste: Much like the nose, the palette is rife with milk chocolate
notes. Not quite to the point of being candy-like, though it is
remarkably sweet for a brew not actually made with chocolate or vanilla
(as far as I know). Deeply roasted malts come through around the
mid-section followed by a rather prominent hop flavor and bitterness.
It’s actually quite citrusy, albeit for a moment or two. On the backend I
detect dark chocolate and a significant tobacco and smoky flavor.
Nothing in the way of black grape, though there is an aftertaste akin to
that of a deep red wine. I do taste the alcohol, though – it’s a tad
minerally, but not distracting per se. Overall, this is a really
impressive imperial stout and one any brewery should happily stand
Drinkability: Big-bodied imperial stouts can taste great, but few are
actually easy to drink. The North Brewery King Stout is one of those
rare exceptions as the body is quite literally silky smooth with a
creamy texture. It’s thick and soft with a lingering malty sensation,
though I would not consider it to be cloying. At 9% ABV it makes full
use of its weight, though the alcohol was present in the taste it did
not impart any noticeable heat. I had no trouble digesting the entire