Saturday, January 17, 2015

12B - Imperial Assassin (Imperial Licorice Stout) Tasting

A lot has changed since I brewed my first stout, a licorice forwards Imperial Russian Stout that saw half of the batch receive Jaegermeister soaked oak. The beer was brewed 3 years, almost to the day, before this tasting took place. While the beer tasted good relatively fresh, it has been a while since I have I have had one.  Having a bottle of Jaeger in the apartment and seeing an article in Draft magazine about beers that taste like cocktails, and especially the one which is aged in Absinthe barrels (Absinthe and Jaeger both have predominant Anise/Licorice flavor profiles and are among my favorite liquors/liqueurs) prompted me to want to try this one again.  I was lucky enough to find a bottle in my parents basement and gave it a go.

A- Deep dark and oily with lots of carbonation bubbles that support an everlasting 1 finger eggwhite foam.  Doesn't leave lacing as much as a full wall of bubbles.

S- Sweet, candy, oak, licorice, a touch of smoke.  Pretty good, though more sweet and sugary than most stouts.

T- Initial sweetness is swept aside by a moderate alcohol and licorice character that gives way to a long, creamy, oaky finish.  Honestly: it's awesome, similar to, but better than I remember with the sweet sugary character being nicely balanced by slight alcohol and licorice and finally the oak showing through.  Not enough roast character or bitterness to be a classic RIS, but delicious nonetheless.

M- Seems somewhat thin and snappy on the front, but the finish is long, smooth, and creamy.  The oak tannins could very well be what gives this sensation of a fuller body as the carbonation is clearly fairly high and the high alcohol makes the body feel relatively thin.

O- I would pay for this beer.  I would pay a lot for this beer.  This very well may have been the last bottle (I might have one more stashed away...) and that's somewhat sad since it seems to have just peaked with the alcohol barely present, and at over 9% ABV this one can definitely sneak up on you. While it is certainly on the very sweet side for an imperial stout, missing some of the chocolate and coffee character expected of any stout, and the licorice and Jaeger do not come through very strong, the overall impression is just a deliciously oaked dark brown ale.  One of, if not the single best beer I have ever brewed.   A very Good Beer indeed.

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