Weekly Beer Geek: Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
- Article by Luke G
- July 19, 2012
Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Divide Brewing Co
??/Bottle (22 oz bottle)
The Beginning: This bad boy is the end of my birthday stockpile of brew, or at least the end of the unique types of beer. I may be lazy enough to use gifts as review subjects but I’m not quite lazy enough to just keep reviewing the same beer through an entire six pack. I saved the most impressive for last and hopefully it’s the best as well. Coming in at a whopping 22 ounces, if it’s bad I’ll be one sad beer geek. It’s also hot as the devil’s taint outside, so if it weren’t for God’s own gift of air conditioning I’d never risk cracking an imperial stout.
The Brewer’s Pitch: Turns out this isn’t just ANY Yeti stout, it’s a special version with chocolate and oak flavors added. From the basic Yeti Imperial, they’ve eased back on the throttle of the hops and replaced some of that bitterness capacity with cocoa nibs, bringing a unique bittersweet character. Bitter chocolate from the cocoa and smoky vanilla from the oak give it a high-dollar chocolate bar taste. And what’s this? Their final kick in the flavor-pants is a smidgen of cayenne, just to keep it hopping.
The Beer: Yeti is an opaque milk-chocolate brown, with the barest scrim of dark brown head that is darker than many “dark beers” I’ve had. The nose is a cool coffee-and-chocolate smell that sort of reminds me of the food aisle in World Market. It hits with a big blast of stout bitterness that suddenly makes a smooth transition. From low hops and deep toasted malts, the cocoa nibs suddenly rise up and assert themselves. It is a chocolaty flavor (shock!) with a smokey, lightly acidic bitterness below it. The oak slowly builds stronger and stronger and carries the acid along with it for a pucker finish. The beer is smooth and, although fairly dense, still much lighter than might be expected for something so astoundingly dark.
The Breakdown: This is killed by how sour it is. The oak is too prevalent and it leaves a sour, dry, puckery finish on a beer that would be better served as a smoother, bittersweet blend of chocolate and malt. The cayenne never really shows up either, although I’m not sure how it would have reacted to the sourness. About halfway through, after I’d finished with reviewing the pure taste of the beer, I grabbed some horseradish crackers and it markedly improved the beer. I think this is definitely one to have with spicy, bold food to combat the overdone sourness.
The Bottom Line: Again I find myself in the position of feeling like I’ve got a better name than the brewery: Bigfoot Brown Ale? Anybody?