Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Beer Review: Beelzebub

Reviewing the Beelzebub, an imperial stout from The Alchemist out of Waterbury, Vermont.

Score: 97

05/24/14 vintage can served in a Kate the Great snifter and enjoyed on 06/15/14 while BBQ hamburgers for our Father's Day dinner.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black color with a half finger of khaki head that settles to a thick ring around the glass and foggy coating. Crazy awesome lacing and retention. This is your ideal looking stout. 5/5

Smell: Big, bold dark chocolate, figs and dates, char/roast, a hint of syrup, milk chocolate and a faint hop character define the nose while the brew is on the colder side, straight out of the fridge. As it warms up though, a perfectly integrated assault of citrusy and slightly grassy hops emerge to create a delightful mix of chocolate and fruitiness. The aroma develops from lovely, traditional stout to a more complex stout that perfectly embraces all the things I love about citra hops. 4.75/5

Taste: Dark chocolate covered dates with a light burnt/char character and roastiness that linger long in the finish. A light amount of coffee towards the back half too. The flavor here is aggressively bitter, with so much chocolate flavor lingering. As it warms up, as with the nose, a big tropical fruity hop character comes through. Bitter grapefruit and orange zest explode towards the back half, pairing nicely with the bold dark chocolate flavor. The hop character melds perfectly with the chocolate and roast and dark fruit. Who knew a hoppy stout could be this delicious? 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium/medium-light bodied, low carbonation. Very, very, very bitter (but I like that). Juicy mouthfeel, dry (and lasting) finish. Thin bodied for the style, but not in a way that ruined the brew. 4.5/5

Overall: One of the best new beers I have had had in a long while. I had never heard of this beer until I received it as an extra from a very generous friend who was sending me some northeast IPA's, but given its quality, I am shocked there are not more people talking about this brew and seeking it out. Although I am not a fan of black IPA/Cascadian dark ales, I was blown away by this beer. I guess we should expect nothing less than this degree of mastery from The Alchemist, one of America's hop masters. If you like grapefruit and oranges and bitter, bitter dark chocolate, you need to seek this beer out.

Cost: $13 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.

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