Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beer Review: Jester King Black Metal Imperial Stout

Reviewing the Black Metal Imperial Stout from Jester King Craft Brewery. I was not planning on drinking this beer, which is retired and no longer brewed, but in pulling out beers for a tasting tomorrow, I inadvertently dropped the bottle and "pssst'd" the cap. Thankfully no beer was lost, but a broken seal means that this one has to be consumed now (or it'll be flat later).
Score: 85

Bottle has "2013" imprinted on it, which I have to presume is the "best by" date (otherwise I received this bottle from the future). Served in a Dogfish Head snifter and enjoyed on 03/07/12. The label claims this beer is best enjoyed while reading the Necronomicon. I guess watching the Evil Dead will have to suffice as an alternative.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color, totally opaque. No light slices through this beer, though you can kind of tell that a very faint amount of light is trying to peek through at the very top of the beer. Pours two fingers of foamy milk chocolate colored head that kind of turns kind of creamy in appearance as it settles into a thin layer atop the glass (and ultimately into a ring around the glass). Above average lacing for a double digit ABV beer. Excellent retention. 5/5

Smell: Dark chocolate, cocoa powder and tons of roasted coffee. Some hops and a faint smokiness. Figs, a light amount of alcohol and an acidic coffee filter smell too. 3.5/5

Taste: Acidic, burnt coffee upfront. The coffee then subsidies into a dark chocolate residual flavor that provides a really pleasant balance to an otherwise aggressive first impression. There's definitely some dark cherry and dried fig (sweetness) on the midpalate, but these flavors do not linger or last for very long at all. There's a really raw, bitter chocolate finish. Really bitter-forward; this brew could use some dark fruit sweetness to balance out the bitterness. A roasted, but not burnt, coffee flavor grows throughout the beer as it layers. The 10% ABV is pretty well hidden. A solid, un-complex brew. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonation. Feels a little bit thin for a 10% ABV Russian Imperial Stout. Smooth mouthfeel on the way down. Finishes bitter, dry and "chalky." 3.5/5

Overall: A gorgeous looking Russian Imperial Stout, but it's all downhill from there. Certainly a solid brew in the style, but it does not stand out in terms of aroma, flavor or mouthfeel. Not over priced at $10 a bottle, especially at 10% ABV, but Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout was much better, and you can get four 12 oz bottles of that for a couple of bucks more.

Recommendation: Definitely give this beer a whirl if you get a chance, but don't break a sweat seeking it out.

Pairings: Merk's Almond Swiss cheese spread.

Cost: $9.99 for a 750 ml.

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