For those keeping track, it’s January and depending on your location, it’s been a wet, windy, but definitely cold one. It’s also a time when warm thoughts inspire one to consume warm beverages, be it warm in temperature or warm in sensation.
For the craft enthusiast this usually means something like a Barleywine, Winter Ale, Winter Ale, or a hearty Imperial Stout. It is with those thoughts that we gravitated towards two unique beers, Silver City’s Imperial Stout and their oaked-aged brother the Barrel-aged Imperial Stout.
As always we like to know more about what encompasses a particular beer so we consulted the suggested guidelines before partaking.
Black in color. American-style imperial stouts typically have a high alcohol content. Generally characterized as very robust. The extremely rich malty flavor and aroma are balanced with assertive hopping and fruity-ester characteristics. Bitterness should be moderately high to very high and balanced with full sweet malt character . Roasted malt astringency and bitterness can be moderately perceived but should not overwhelm the overall character. Hop aroma is usually moderately-high to overwhelmingly hop-floral, -citrus or -herbal. Diacetyl (butterscotch) levels should be absent.
Silver City as the above description suggests, pours dark and without light into our glass. As it settles into the glass an initially strong off-white foamy head is born, before receding slowly, and leaving little lace behind.
Taking a whiff we detect notes of toffee, roasted outs and bits of coffee are perceived through the darkness.
Taking our first sip we are greeted initially by roasted coffee followed by sweet toffee before it finishes with elements of dark chocolate. Overall the weight felt on the tongue as this Imperial Stout drags across the tongue is mostly medium and there is a mild alcohol burn.
An extremely black beer with massive roasted malt character balanced with assertive hopping from Northwest Chinook hops, fruity esters and a sinister alcohol content. - 9.2% ABV
You Should Try This. Much like the Imperial / Double India Pale Ales of the world, impressions are subjective when one consults suggested guideline. For a beer that was first on the shelves as far back as November this beer has held up remarkably. Chances are if you wander the shelves of your favorites grocery store or bottleshop, there might still be some squirreled away for you to pick up.
For the foodie, you should consider chocolate dessert, smoked meats, poultry, or some sport like a medium rare buffalo or bison.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has not provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review. The bottle in question was purchased from Whole Foods on the corner of Denny & Westlake Avenue on December 12th, 2010.