Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Old Stout Review

I cleaned out part of my brew stash yesterday and came across a forgotten box of old beers that had been gathering dust for some time. Most of the bottles are unlabeled, though a few have just enough cryptic markings on the caps to give me a hint of what they could be. It seems most of the bottles date back to late 2008, which would correspond to my 'dark' brewing phase when 8-10% abv black-as-night stouts and porters were my session beers of choice. The beer I picked for this review is my "Oblivion Stout" a big American stout that is closely based on Deschutes Obsidian stout. I no longer have the recipe, though I do remember using a lot of black malt, brown sugar, and an absurd amount of hops. It was an all-grain batch, though the beer was practically undrinkable for most of its life; it was too alcoholic and tasted not unlike an old ash tray. Let's see if 1.5 years or so of aging have helped this beer out...

Oblivion Stout : American Stout

Appearance – Black as night with medium-high carbonation. Pours a tan/brown head that quickly fades to a thin rim of foam. The beer is very clear with little sediment in the bottle. Ruby highlights when held to the light.

Smell – I was expecting to smell sour olives and cigarettes, but the aroma is surprisingly nice. The first smell is of black roast, molasses, chocolate, and toffee followed by a huge wallop of slightly old citrus and piney hops. As the beer warms up the aroma really becomes quite strong and pleasant.
Taste –Similar to aroma, medium black malt character (though not ashy), molasses, chocolate, and some rich caramel similar to what you'd find in an old bottle of Fullers ESB. The hop presence is pretty strong considering its age and has a firm bitterness. The flavor reminds me a lot of a slightly oxidized black IPA. Just a hint of alcohol at the end, though hard to find if your not looking for it. I would guess this is somewhere around 9%. I was expecting this to be marginally tasty, but I actually finished off the pint pretty quick.

Mouthfeel – Just a tad over carbonated and as such has a pretty thin mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes – Tastes pretty decent! If I got served one at my local, I'd probably order another one if the price was right. The hops could be a bit fresher and I'm pretty sure there is a bit of oxidation going on, though nothing unpleasant. I sort of wish I had more than one bottle left, though I figure I can let this last bottle sit around for another year or so. I do remember fermenting this batch with Ringwood.

O.G: 1.085 (?), F.G: 1.015 (?), 8-9.0% ABV (?), 60 IBU (?), Wyeast 1187 Ringwood.


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