It is now a month into 2014, and I’m about half way through the last beer brewed in 2013. This was my most recent attempt at replicating a beer I first brewed well over a decade ago – a beer still talked about by a few of my friends, and one I’ve not been able to replicate.
Sadly, it is still not what I remember – I’m actually starting to wonder if the reality of that beer is anything like my memories of it. Regardless, this attempt is a good beer. I’m not quite sure it meets its moniker of being a stout – not quite enough roast character or body – but it is a nice dark beer. Lets call it a session stout.
Appearance: Pours dark-black with a thick beige head. The head falls over a few minutes, but a thin layer persists to the end of the pint, leaving traces of Belgian lace along the sides of the glass.
Aroma: Malt and roast notes. An almost a bready-yeastiness is present at the beginning, but this fades along with the head.
Flavour: A 50-50 mix of coffee and chocolate is the flavours that dominate this brew, but their strength is less than what I would normally except of a stout. This is balanced with some malt sweetness. The hop bitterness is on the low end, as was planned in the recipe, and is not quite enough to balance the malt sweetness. Aftertaste is a bit of mild roastiness and malt sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Due to the higher mash temperature there is a bit more mouthfeel than you’d normally expect from a 4.3% beer. It is, however, thin for a stout.
Overall: Overall this is a good beer, but I’m not sure it should be called a stout. Not as roasty as most stouts, not has heavily-bodied, nor not quite enough bitterness. This beer vacilates between being a roasty take on a dark ale and a mild take on a stout. A nice beer – probably a good way to convert the “I don’t like dark beers” crowd; but a disappointment for the stout-lover in me and to my _likely inflated) memories of a beer brewed long, long ago…