Archive for the 'Imperial Stout' Category

2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout and a Diamondback Robusto

Aren't they just dreamy?

When I’m not stuffing my face with rich, decadent foods alongside drinking a rich, decadent beer, you can find me enjoying a nice cigar…. and drinking a rich, decadent beer (Let’s be honest, I drink every chance I get). As is the case with food, I find beer pairs better with cigars than a nice brandy, porto, or what have you. Beers can be manipulated in ways that liquors and wines can not be. The flavor profiles and varieties of beers are innumerable, and, as much as I enjoy a good bourbon or Bordeaux, there’s only so much you can do to change the taste of liquor and wine. The same is the case with cigars, in terms of manipulation of flavor profile. There are so many types of tobaccos that have the ability to have their tastes changed with slight manipulations. The pairing of the two together is just common sense.

That being said, you can not just throw any beer and any cigar together. As is the case with pairing liquors with cigars, match like qualities with like qualities. You do not want to pair a nice robusto with pale ale. Likewise, it would be equally disastrous pairing a big English barleywine with a mild cigar. Match them flavor for flavor. An stout would not serve well when paired with a cigar whose profile is a bit more on the citrusy and light side. As I said, the pairings are common sense, but think before pairing. If you happen to be more knowledgeable about one and less about the other, as a beer connoisseur or cigar aficionado about the flavor profiles of either/or…. or you could just follow and ask us (hint, hint).

Well finally, onto the pairing. I lucked out at one of my local beer stops when a buddy of mine who works there told me about a shipment of fairly rare Goose Island beers that had just come in. Naturally, after hearing they had the 2008 version of their Bourbon County Brand Stout in said shipment, I bought as many as was allowed. I knew that this would be the perfect beer to pair with a cigar…
… which cigar though? Now, due to the flavor profile and high %ABV of the BCBS, I knew I wanted a robust cigar that had a creamy, sweet yet spicy taste. Nicaraguan tobacco is known to have a flavor profile such as this, so I set out to look for the perfect smoke to match. At my local smoke shop, I came across a fairly inexpensive, yet interesting smelling cigar. The Diamondback Robusto, a cigar made with Nicaraguan tobacco, has the words “Dulce Humo” on the wrapper, which translates to sweet smoke. A whiff gave me just what I was looking for; a bit of a sweet, yet peppery and oaky smell. I knew this would pair well with the BCBS.
Back at home, a pop of the top, a light of the smoke, and I was in heaven. The beer itself was divine. A nice, velvety smooth vanilla flavor came through first. Not a sticky sweet cloying vanilla that you get sometimes from vanilla bean aged stouts, but a subtle, yet powerful vanilla that comes from oak aging. Big chocolate flavors play with a much more subdued, yet perfectly balanced, bourbon sweetness. This beer is rich, smooth, and nearly perfect. I did not want the first sip to end. A puff of the cigar put me in even more of a subliminal state. A nice peppery taste, followed by nutmeg and cinnamon, were the first on the palate. After they subdued, a nice creamy vanilla, akin to the one tasted in the beer, came through. As I pushed the smoke to the the roof of my mouth, a sweet toffee flavor began to rear it’s head. Going back and forth between the two enhanced the flavors of each, as well as bringing more subdued notes out. The Bourbon County began giving off slight coffee flavors, not bitter coffee, but a nice, creamy mocha. A bit of a paprika note was tasted in the cigar, as well.
This was a fine pairing, one I did not want to end. When the beer and smoke was done, I was forced back to earth to rejoin reality.




Well folks! The Penguin made it safe and sound. Tactical Nuclear Penguin that is.

Story goes a little something like this. I purchase special release Bullfrog beers for fellow craft beer lovers across the country. I had toyed around with the idea of trading one of the newest releases, Jaspers for a Tactical Nulcear Penguin. All this before I learned that the Penguin is $65 a bottle. I did happen to get in touch with a gent from CT that was willing to do such a trade even up. Problem is, my wallet is still not adjusted to having a son, so I canceled the trade and the trader decided he still wanted the Jaspers. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat I sell these beers at cost, I make no money on them at all. Anyway, the trader emailed and told me the money was in the mail with a treat. Turns out, that treat was…..yup….Tactical Nuclear Penguin.

Tactical Nuclear Penguin is produced by BrewDog out of Scotland. A wonderful craft brewery that is really breaking the rules. TNP is a 32% Imperial Stout that was brewed through freeze distillation. Which for those of you who don’t know is, they essentially brewed a beer and then stuffed it in a sub-zero ice cream freezer. What’s this do? You ask! Well, the water in the beer freezes allowing the brewers to drain off the concentrate (for lack of a better term). That concentrated Imperial Stout is then Tactical Nuclear Penguin.

We’ve yet to try this beer, but hope to give it a shot on Saturday. Be sure to stay tuned in to see all the details of this elusive beer.

beer + food = Barleydine

A special thanks to BA Irishct15 for making this possible.


Russian Imperial Stout | 9.50% ABV

Beer notes:

Oskar Blues, as most of you already know, was the first micro-brewery to stuff a full flavored craft beer into a can. Their first canned beer was Dales Pale Ale which has developed a huge cult-type following. Oskar didn’t stop their, they went as far to cram a Russian Imperial Stout into a can. Ten Fidy is a full flavored RIS contender to any other offering on the market. It’s packs a wicked punch for the palate. Loaded with malt causing a very viscous jet black pour. No light is piercing that glass. The head builds fluffy and dark tan leaving some gentle lacing on the glass. This beer is all malt on the tongue with lots of coffee and chocolate flavor. This is a very solid Imperial Stout that will easily stand its ground against the many other RIS’s out there.

Pairing Notes:

I’ve drank a lot of Stouts. I’ve had them with steaks, with cheeses, cakes, in milkshakes and so on. I really switched it up tonight. I cracked open a can of Ten Fidy and decided I wanted to enjoy a hot fudge sundae with my beer. Your probably wondering where I did the switch up. Well, I didn’t just top the ice cream with fudge, I added a little bacon as well. I know, many of you are probably gagging at the thought of bacon on ice cream. Let me tell you though that you sure are missing a treat if you turn your nose up at this delight. Basically all the bacon is doing is adding a salt flavor much like peanuts would do. Add that with the fudge topping and you have a winning combination. The chocolate flavors from the malt linked well with the fudge topping as well as marrying well with the vanilla ice cream. The salt flavor from the bacon was tamed nicely by the coffee bitterness of the beer really balanced things out very well. Honestly give this a try, I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

beer + food = Barleydine

Beer and food reviewed by LEP Himself


Russian Imperial Stout | 9.50% ABV

Beer notes:

Pours super black with a very viscous flow. A sturdy tan head builds late in the pour and delicately laces the glass. Small amounts of vanilla and chocolate play out in the aroma as well as following straight into the taste. The nose is loaded with malt character which translates into a very heavy bodied beer. There is a very forward bitter flavor that occurs from the dark malts, hops are very subdued. The alcohol of the beer is not too forward but warms the throat nicely and melds well with a long finish.

Pairing notes:

Grill a nice thick NY Strip Steak to your liking, hopefully you like it medium-rare. The abundance of malt in the beer links very well with caramelized meat. Perhaps you’d top the steak with Gorgonzola which this beer would tear through using the bitterness from the malts. Although their subtle, the hops do a nice job clearing the palate. If you’d happen to have any left in the bottle from dinner, pair the rest with quality dark chocolate or a very rich chocolate cake. Once again, the malt body possesses some chocolate characteristics which would play nicely with your desert.

beer + food = Barleydine

Beer reviewed by LEP Himself


It’s summer time! What better to beat the heat with than a beer? Ice cream? Both sound great, well then, why not combine the two? I know what your thinking, “beer and ice cream, yuck.” Well, trust me on this one, it is fantastic.

Now, you can’t use just any old beer, especially those fizzy, light beers made by the mass brewers. You need something robust, something loaded with sweetness. A stout is the perfect companion to ice cream, all that malt sweetness and chocolate overtones. They are fabulous together. Another beer to try, would be a Lambic, although, I have not done this yet, I believe it would be a great match. Vanilla ice cream with Framboise or Kriek, it’d be almost sorbet like I believe.

Next time your trying to think of a desert to end a nice picnic with friends, go with a Stout Float. A couple dips of ice cream in a glass of Imperial Stout, will certainly fill that bill.

beer + food = Barleydine


I had the pleasure of cracking bottle #2 of Brooklyn Black Ops Stout on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The Wingman and I were in the mood for something barrel-aged and I knew exactly what to grab out of the Barleycellar. Black Ops, Baby!

Some time ago, I found this beer for sale on eBay and immediately bought it. I had no sooner received the first bottle when I purchased another for the cellar. I was going to crack one and leave the other to age. Several months after that, I was on a trip to Beers of the World and found more up there, I had to have another. I tucked that one away nicely in the Barleycellar to age.

One evening after work I had decided to open my first bottle. I made big plans including a fancy meal. You’d think I was on a date. It was a momentous occasion being this beer is from my favorite brewery. I recorded the tasting of the beer and wrote long tasting notes, much longer than usual. It was quite the evening. Fast forward to now, I had to have it again. The Wingman had only listened to me talk about it up to this point, so we decided to get into it.

In my opinion, it’s pretty much Black Chocolate Stout aged in bourbon barrels. That may sound simple enough, but it certainly adds a lot of complexity to the beer. It pours black, motor oil black, with the darkest head I’ve ever seen. The aroma is loaded with malts, coffee, chocolate and bourbon, which all follow straight into the flavor. This is a sipping beer, perhaps after dinner. It did go well with dark chocolate, you want that bitterness that dark chocolate possesses. Those notes in the chocolate linked right up with the bitter espresso and chocolate notes in the beer.

I still have one bottle in the basement, I need a very special occasion to open that guy up. Unless of course, I find myself able to obtain another bottle or two, heck, maybe three or four. It is a must keep in the Barleycellar.

beer + food = Barleydine


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