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The Weekly Beer Geek: Imperial Biscotti Break – Imperial Stout

Imperial Biscotti Break- Imperial Stout
Evil Twin Brewing
$4.29/Can (16 oz)
Grade: A-

The Beginning:
Weekends are supposed to be our refuge, a moment to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the workweek. Then there’s my weekend, which consisted of driving in a giant triangle across the whole damn state going to every wedding in the world before arriving home to collapse in a heap. Still, there’s a few stealable moments of rest before it’s back to the grindstone- time for a quick coffee, or pastry, or (and here’s where it gets devious), just drinking while claiming I’m having a biscotti break.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
Evil Twin literally does not pitch this beer at all- the entire blurb on their web site about it is a joke about how awesome the Roman Empire was, what with their awesome food and architecture and entertainment. Pay no attention to the brutally authoritarian rule or the obsession with communal baths. I’m not sure what, exactly, this has to do with Biscotti. I’m also pretty sure that “Imperial” in “Imperial stout” refers to beers made extra-strong like those designed to be sold to the Russian Imperial court, like what “India” means in “India Pale Ale.” If Evil Twin wants it to be about a whole different empire, though, that’s their prerogative.

The Beer:
Imperial Biscotti Break pours a deep Coke-brown with a thick velvety caramel-brown head. The nose is quite light, with hints of cocoa nib and mild hops. The taste is much bolder than the aroma promises, though, hitting hard with the clean bitterness of cocoa nibs right up front and then fading into a slightly sweeter haze at the back end. Like coffee with sugar but no cream, it stays dark and intense but picks up just enough sweetness to take the edge off. Strong roast-char notes develop through the glass and start to build a multi-layered flavor with cocoa nibs at the base followed by burnt cookies and hints of coffee at the very top.

The Breakdown:
This actually does a pretty compelling job of encapsulating a biscotti break in a beer can. It’s all done in very vigorous- not to say aggressive- strokes, so if you’re a novice to dark beers you’d be wise to just let this one go. If you’re up to the challenge though, this is a pretty rewarding beer. The sweetness plays hide and seek between the hard roast on the malt and the cocoa nibs- both of which are bitter in their own unique way. With some attention the smoky sweetness will coat your tongue and palate and linger into the aftertaste for an extremely satisfying warmer.

The Bottom Line:
When I tried to save this review I realized that at some point I’ve already reviewed this one. I think that was pre-site-restructure, though, so you’re getting it again. In case you’re curious, I gave it an A the previous trip through, so at least I’m consistent.

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