False obituaries for inanimate objects aside, today's review is for Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch. It is way past brunch time, but I feel that my exbeerience will be similar, regardless. There truly is no better way to introduce this beer than to reprint the description from the bottle.
"This imperial Oatmeal stout is brewed with one of the world's most expensive coffees, made from droppings of weasel-like civet cats. The fussy Southeast Asian animals only eat the best and ripest coffee berries. Enzymes in their digestive system help to break down the bean. Workers collect the bean-containing droppings for Civet or Weasel Coffee. The exceedingly rare Civet Coffee has a strong taste and an even stronger aroma."
I'm not sure who has it worse, me as a drinker or the workers that collect weasel turds all day. And you thought chicha had a nasty recipe. Let's pour!
|Picture is my own. Bottle art image used without permission for educational uses only.|
This is everything that a stout should be. Coffee is first in the nose followed by a dark, dark roasted (yet unburnt) chocolaty malt. The sweet creaminess of the oatmeal peeks out next, followed by just the slightest hint of smoke (which I attribute to the malt. Perhaps a bit of charring occured after all?). When pouring a sample, be sure to let the head die a bit. When the head is still churning and fresh, a great deal of alcohol warmth and oatmeal sweetness come roaring out. This smells like quite a treat.
Again, perfectly on the mark for the style. This beer is pitch black, completely opaque, and pours thicker than a Weight Watcher's meeting. Plenty of brown, sticky head is present which lingers in the glass and leaves some lovely lacing. This is a pint full of awesome. The SRC/EBC color chart in the picture is completely superfluous as this beer is out-and-out black.
|Picture is my own.|
The initial flavor had me a bit concerned, but thankful those concerns were rendered baseless very quickly. The first sip is a tangy, salty bite in front of the traditional stout flavors. No, not exactly what one expects when diving into a stout, but thankfully this flavor is completely absent in the rest of the beer and even fades from the beginning as the beer warms. From this bite, we transition to the backbone almost like leaving an underground tunnel in a car - big flash of light (our biting first sip) and then fades gradually into focus as our eyes adjust (the backbone). The beer's backbone is phenomenal! Espresso beans, dark vanilla, alcohol warmth, darkly roasted chocolate malt, oatmeal's creamy sweetness, rich bits of caramel, and a subtle alcohol warmth. You could let this sit in your mouth for an extended period of time with no complaints. Not because the flavor is changing and transitioning, but because it is delicious! Heck, they even throw in a hint or two of black licorice for good measure. The finish shows a mocha blend of the chocolaty malt and the coffee beans, then proceeds to combine that with the oatmeal. Gorgeous. If that was not enough it also includes a sharp hop bitter after a brief, yet distinct moment. The finish is a peppery hop bitter along the sides of the tongue, but primarily features breaths full of alcohol warmth and coffee. This is a powerhouse stout and not for the faint of taste.
I was initially looking to deduct a point for the "barely existant" level of carbonation. The almost imperceptible bubbles could have perhaps used a bit of company, but as it is their lack of presence was not distracting. Warmth is present, but not completely absent nor overwhelming; quite a feat in a 10.9% ABV beer. Creaminess is abundant, but the body is not as heavy as I would expect considering this beer's other feats. It could be categorized as "medium heavy."
Overall Impression 10/10
If you enjoy stouts, this beer will bowl you over. From the nose to the flavor to the appearance, everything in this beer borders on ridiculously good. You want imperial? They've got your imperial right here. Good gracious!
This is an extreme beer for the extreme beer drinker. Gargantuan taste, lots of alcohol, rare and/or unusual ingredients, expensive, and delicious. This is a sipper, but gladly so. I can't imagine tearing through a portion of this size as it would result in my immediate and glaring disappointment. This is my first beer from Mikkeller and I can guarantee that it will not be my last. If you can find it (and enjoy big ass stouts), you should buy it. Not only will you not regret it, but it is worth every penny. I don't know how else to end this except... wow. Pinty would be proud.