Perennial Prodigal Imperial Stout

I didn't know if I had tried any Perennial beers before, so I looked back at my blog. Really, that's the reason that I'm doing all of these reviews – so I don't have to try and remember what beers I've tried and what beers I haven't tried. In this case, I have had one of their chocolates stouts before. My beer slinger tells me that this is the beer that they use as a base for all of their other beers, so let's see what the base tastes like before they start adding chocolate, mint, or even hibiscus and cucumber.

From the pitch black bottle with the pitch black label comes a pitch black beer. The beer poured syrupy thick like a bourbon barrel aged beer, but I don't remember seeing that on the label. The head needed to be coaxed out, and it's a wisp of a thing. The tiny little light tan bubbles are patchy at first, but they eventually go away almost completely. The aroma is toasted, almost charred oats and grains. Underneath the remnants of the fire is an intoxicating sweetness.

First sip brings a bitterness with what seems like a fairly substantial alcohol punch. There are vanilla beans and caramel in the background, but the toasted oats are definitely standing out with all of that alcohol kind of backing everything up. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a bourbon barrel aged stout, just like the smell. But, I know better!

Tip-in is grainy, caramel malt with that charred overtone. Almost licorice-like sweetness is leading from this beginning into the middle. The middle is where things pick up pretty substantially; the toasted oats get joined by the heavy alcohol, vanilla beans, caramel malt, and the overwhelming syrupy sensation. This middle isn't calm, but it's smooth and thick. At the finish lies the bitterness that is coming from hops I couldn't taste, but the overall effect is indicative of the Imperial Stout style, and you can't fault an Imperial Stout for tasting like an Imperial Stout, can you?

Bottom Line: If this is a base for a bunch of beers, I think I want to taste everything based on it.

3.5/5

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