Posts Tagged ‘stout’

Stout Week: Guinness Extra Stout and Draught

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Now I’ve got a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout, the much lauded export stout, and a widget can of Guinness Draught. One should note that this bottle of Extra Stout was brewed in New Brunswick while the can comes straight from Ireland.

The Extra Stout gives a thick, creamy head that is only the slightest bit spongy. The head is straw-colored and the beer itself a caramel-tinted deep black. The nose is delicate, with major malt character. A strong biscuit and toast brown malt aroma hearkens back to the porter roots of the style. Light caramel and roast add complexity.

The flavor has a similar detached bitter astringency as in the tap version, but there is also a significant contribution of flavor from brown and roast malt. While the roast still seems underbalanced for the bitterness, it is certainly much closer to ideal. In addition, there is a meaty yeast character that was entirely lacking on tap. The palate is thick and creamy without being cloying or undrinkable.

The Guinness Draught: I have to admit, this does pour exactly like Guinness on tap, with the thick milky head falling quickly in waves, settling with a creamy off-white meringue layer over a red-tinted dark brown. I can see (though I may not understand) why they spend so much time perfecting that aspect of the experience. Like on tap this has almost no nose, though the canned version does have slightly more toast aroma and a significant diacetyl note.

The taste confirms diacetyl, which actually serves to mellow out the unpleasant bitterness I’ve come to associate with Guinness. Unfortunately there’s almost no other flavor so it is a lost cause anyway. The palate is rich and creamy, and unlike on tap, it is not at all cloying. This beer is not bad, but it could be so much more.

+Guinness Extra Stout

RateBeer: 3.4 (3-7-6-4-14)

+/-Guinness Draught

RateBeer: 3.1 (5-5-5-4-12)

Stout Week: Kalamazoo and Shakespeare

Monday, November 24th, 2008

In England, stout was originally a term for strong porters according to Ron Pattinson. In the U.S., it has come to be defined as a distinct style. Stout is one of the darkest styles, with beers ranging from dark brown to obsidian black. Roasted malt flavor and aroma are key, often as coffee and chocolate character. American ones sometimes are loaded with citrus hoppiness as well.

First off is Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout. The bottle proclaims this is a “stout brewed with brewers’ licorice” which I take to mean roasted malt. The Kalamazoo Stout gives a decent frothy copper head, but it doesn’t last long. That’s probably because it is not too strongly carbonated. The aroma is very faint, but what is there reminds me of dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel.

The flavor is quite mild as well. There is a certain roasty bitterness, much like coffee. Slightly sweet , hardly carbonated, and made with tons of dark malts, this beer still manages to be playful and light on the way down. A great example of a classic style.

Next up will be Rogue Shakespeare Stout. This pours a dark brown that can only be called bistre. Immediately there is almost no head and it fades fast from there, but what I can see is ochre. The aroma is quite prominently citric, with some roast character breaking through.

The flavor is actually somewhat unpleasant. The orange, citric hop flavors are fighting with the roasted malt. Roast bitterness does not mix well with fruity flavor. Here is what this flavor reminds me of: this morning, lacking a better vessel to hold OJ on my way to work, I put it in my old travel coffee mug. The palate is quite thin, almost frothy. The unpleasant bitterness lingers… unpleasantly. I should have drank this colder.

+Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

RateBeer: 3.6 (3-7-7-4-15)

+/-Rogue Shakespeare Stout

RateBeer: 2.7 (2-7-4-3-11)