Howe Sound Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout

The other two Howe Sound beers I had were absolutely spectacular. I really hope that this is another on. I don't even know if they put out any beers that aren't thick and rich, but let's not start with this one. I'm not going to say that Howe Sound will supplant Lagunitas as my go-to brewery after just two beers, but these guys clearly have their stuff together.

Deep ruby brown to the point of being opaque, the licorice hued beer has a soft and delightfully sticky head and an aroma that is overwhelmed with licorice. There are other, more subtle smells with it, but the licorice stands atop them with vigor. The other smells seem to be a sweet malt, coffee, toffee, and maybe... oak? Definitely a wood of some kind.

First sip is megadestroying solid stout. Jeebus. It's like an unexpected piledriver of taste right into the tastebuds with little more than a grunt of effort and the roar of the crowd. Carbonation burn mixes it up with licorice and grass and dirt and wood. It's a lot to deal with in this little, relatively wimpy sip, but I get the impression that the beer is like a sumo wrestler walking into a sushi bar - whatever is in between him and the buffet, look out. Full swig is next...

Tip-in is licorice and carbonation burn. The middle is strong. There is nothing smooth or calm about this beer. It is an unsubtle as a kick in the knee, and the middle is just a heap of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and almost a syrup of licorice. The finish replaces it with sweet malt, slightly more coffee, and I may detect a hop peeking out at the end. It's not the best Howe Sound beer that I've had, but it was certainly worth trying.

Bottom Line: Brutal and unapologetic, this is a beer that stands on it's own. It needs to be a bit more approachable.



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