Prairie Artisan Ales Paradise Imperial Stout

The absolute best that Prairie Artisan can probably hope for in this review is somewhere in the 2.0 to 3.0 range. Fact is, they've only had one beer that was above a 2.0, and that got a 2.25. The way my rating system works, anything between a 2.0 and a 3.0 should be about average. For the specific brewer, it seems like an average beer is the best they can do. This is especially disappointing as they are a craft brewer who appears to want to break out of the mold, but they simply seem to lack the ability. Maybe that'll change with this beer.

The black beer has a thick dark tan head that winds up as one big, thin lily pad on top of the beer. The aroma is thick, and it's filled with chocolate, coffee, coconut, vanilla, and sweetness. There's not a whole lot of smoke in the smell, and that seems unusual for an Imperial Stout. But, these guys like to do their own thing, and that's why we have different brewers that brew the same style. Variety is in the nuance.

First sip is not half bad. The vanilla is very much forward while added coconut has retreated quite a bit. It's sweet overall, and there does appear to be smoke in the taste that I couldn't detect in the nose. There's not a lot of it, but there's enough to give it that slight texture that it needs. So, it seems like the sip is actually pretty good. Now we need to know how it drinks properly.

Tip-in is sweet with vanilla, tempered by wood and a little bit coffee. The middle is thick like a syrup, and it seems to have a lot going on: earth, wood, smoke, coconut, vanilla, dark fruit, and possibly some other things that are getting lost in the mix. The finish is a bitter affair with a wormwood and a kind of clay from the earth coming forward.

Bottom Line: This was much better than I expected. Nevertheless, I'd probably not get a second.

2.0/5

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