Perennial "Abraxas" Imperial Stout

I had two other stouts from these guys, and they fell equidistant on either side of my imaginary 2.5 middle ground for ratings. One was a good beer, and the other was a dessert beer that really didn't hit the mark well enough. So, we come back to an imperial stout, and that is the exact kind that got the higher mark. I have no reason to think that this one won't get at least as good if not a better rating.

A very dark brown head sits atop an impenetrable-to-light black beer. Cinnamon hits me first, and chocolate with molasses seem to back it up. It says that there are peppers in the beer, but I don't smell them; I may be getting the ghost of a shadow of some capsaicin, but I also might be imagining it in my head. Actually, where else would my imagination happen? That's hard to imagine.

First sip is thick, sweet, cinnamon with molasses, earth, chocolate, and there are those peppers, lurking in the background. I have to say that most other beers with peppers that I've had really overdo them, but here they are doing their job fine. I'm just not sure about the rest of the beer; it's too much for a sip - and I think I may say that too often.

Tip-in is carbonation sizzle with a sweet syrup of cinnamon and dark chocolate, but the peppers are adding to that carbonation sizzle just enough to let you know it's there. Licorice starts to slip in as the middle brings bitterness with the carbonation and pepper sizzle darting to the roof of the mouth to let the earth and thick dark chocolate slurry slosh down the gullet. The finish is dry and bitter as the peppers raise the cinnamon on its shoulders before the chocolate dust obscures everything for the trail-off.

Bottom Line:Sometimes experiments bring fantastic new brews, and sometimes they don't. This didn't.



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