February 23, 2012

Grand Teton Black Cauldron

Grand Teton Brewing Black Cauldron Imperial Stout (2011)
Brewed and Bottled by the Grand Teton Brewing Company in Victor, ID. USA. 
Winter Seasonal (Brewers' Series)
12 fl. oz. (x2) / $1.56 USD (Sale) / 8.0% ABV

About: "This thick, rich ale was brewed with plenty of caramel and roasted malts, and subtly spiced with American Chinook and Willamette hops. We’ve accentuated the natural smokiness of the brew by adding a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt and aging the brew in an oak whiskey barrel, which also adds notes of oak and vanilla.

We've brewed our Black Cauldron Imperial Stout to recognize and honor the women in the history of brewing. Brewing has been women's work since the dawn of civilization. In all ancient cultures, beer was a gift from a goddess, and women maintained status and power through their skills as brewers. This remains true today in indigenous cultures from Asia to Latin America, Africa to remote villages in Scandinavia. Around the world, women baked bread and brewed their own beer."

Thoughts: Poured pitch black through and through with a large bubbly chocolate colored head. Holding the glass up I'm seeing some light speckles in suspended animation near the bottom.

First approach is a super strong blast of alcohol to the face! Fruity hops blast forth before the chocolate malt starts to come through. There's a slight hint of coffee, a smokey aura and there's a bit of spicy pepper crawling up the nostrils.

Total candy at first. Raisins, dried fruit, slight vanilla... reminiscent of a Sherry or a Brandy. Very woody once swallowed. More woody than grassy. Smokey. I'm getting no bad taste or strangeness with this. In fact, this tastes pretty damn good. Coffee flavor seems to be the dominant factor in stouts, but here it's laying way low in a roasted subtlety and I'm lovin' it. It's mostly just a chocolatey hint, with that beach wood and fruitful tones along with a boozy haze and candied sugar. Quite lovely.

This is one thick and hearty brew. Very filling.

It finishes slightly dry, but not really. Things begin to even out once you're near the end of one bottle, and as it warms it becomes a little easier to drink. Aside from the initial bite, the alcohol seems to have fallen back a bit. I'm very pleased to find no unpleasantness within this brew. Plus, it's pretty cool to see more witches on bottle art as well, so that's a very cool added bonus.

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