Friday, September 21, 2012

Beer Review: Churchill's Finest Hour (2012)

Reviewing the 2012 version of Churchill's Finest Hour from Port Brewing Company (Lost Abbey's alter ego). We cracked this one, in addition to several other big name goodies, to celebrate the end of the Illinois bar exam, my birthday, and Robbie Moy's birthday. I believe each year's batch is a different stout recipe.
Score: 99

2012 vintage bottle. Served in a plastic taster cup, shared with friends and enjoyed on 07/28/12. Review is from notes.

Appearance: Jet black color. Pours a thin layer of creamy dark tan head that settles to a ring around the glass. Good lacing, but average retention. 4/5

Smell: Huge notes of fudge, plus bourbon and brown sugar. Dark fruit and subtle vanilla as well. There is a very light roastiness to the nose, which also emits a hint of wood as the beer warms. What an absolutely smooth and inviting barrel-aged stout nose! 5/5

Taste: Like the nose, fudge dominates the flavor with a little dark chocolatiness too. The fudge flavor is thick and luscious, and it coats the tongue with lingering flavor. Layered on top of the fudge is the bourbon, molasses and a hint of coffee. Not tasting any wood. There is some sweet dark fruit flavor as well, but the dark fruit characteristics are more subtle on the palate than it was in the aroma. There is a faint hint of alcohol towards the finish that gives the beer a little kick without throwing off the balance or drinkability. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Thick, viscous and slightly sweet. 5/5

Overall: A near-perfect stout that is easily one of the best that I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. It is hard to fault a beer like this for not being "pretty" enough, but that's about my only real criticism here. This brew is complex and smooth, and it lives up to the hype. I sincerely hope I will be able to try this one again in the future.

Recommendation: Seek this beer out.

Pairings: Cocoa-rubbed filet.

Cost: $25 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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