This Double Stout is an old favorite of mine. Before I begin, I have to mention this awful label art. They seriously need to redesign their identity! It’s goofy, amateur look diminishes the inherent concept of quality. Anyhow…the nose is weighed down by heavy aromas of roasted malt that come across like unsweetened dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, and maybe a touch of vanilla. Like sour milk, hops add a faint hint of citrus with musty overtones.
As the palate opens, roasted malts unfold a nice, thick layer of dark chocolate. Sweetness develops a sort of caramel, brown sugar character as malts suddenly turn roasted with flavors of burnt coffee beans. Chocolate continues to run background as the dominant factor. As the bitter roast builds, chocolate makes a deeper transition into cocoa powder where malts give bready qualities. The finish is delineated by a sharp splash of hops that down traces of orange peel and pine. The mouthfeel is quite smooth, almost milky, then departs dry and thirsty. Alcohol keeps to a modest 8.1%, which has minimal flavor interference, and helps maintain considerably good drinkability.
Overall, I think this is fairly hoppy in terms of style, so I consider it a West Coast interpretation. The roasted bitterness looms over sweetness with a modest 55 IBU’s. This really isn’t much, but carries just enough weight to dominate. Looking back at my review from one year ago, it’s clear my palate has shifted, because it’s clear I don’t find the hoppy aspect as appealing. Perhaps the concept of balance is purely subjective? There is certainly something to be said for its direct approach, further complexity prevents me from rating this higher. I recommend it to those who like their doubles with a little more hops.
Hops: Centennial, Cascade