This was the first Philly Beer Week beer I tried. It came from Firestone Walker and it had to have taken a while to make. It was aged in bourbon casks so there are VERY strong notes of bourbon. It was thick like a Russian Imperial Stout should be. Creamy too with a very nice body, again, like an Imperial Stout should be. It was opaque. Very little light came through it. It held a nice head too and honestly that was the signature of this brew. The head had some of the most amazing aromas from the vanilla and tobacco scents from the hops and oak aging barrels to the bitter bite of the bourbon, it was as much a feast for the nose as the oaky, chocolate, earthy flavors were for the mouth.
It was conflicting in that respect too. The scent of the beer made it seem like it was going to be very heavy on the whiskey/bourbon flavors. But once you took a sip and that initial bourbon hit dissipated, there was a definitive chocolate, malty taste. It honestly reminded me of a Rum Ball. But unlike rum which usually finishes with a sugary or molasses flavor, this brew finished with a bitter hops flavor to contrast the sweeter malt.
I would tell you to go find this brew but I honestly don’t know where you could get it. It was a Philly Beer Week brew I had at Monk’s Belgian Cafe in Philadelphia and I did not see it anywhere else the entire week. Firestone Walker’s website says it’s available in bottles in limited distribution but I haven’t seen it locally. So if you have found it, let us know in the comments! I can’t imagine it will be cheap, though. I will tell you that every sip of this beer was a rollercoaster ride. At 13%+ ABV, it’s a sipping beer too but, wow! What a sipping beer!
Summary: BIG beer for sipping purposes only! Excellent experience but may be over-whelming for some. Hey, ya can’t please everybody! But it misses that last point because of that lack of universal appeal. Lotsa effort and talent when in to this and it shows.