Cold day Beer

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I’m not a cold weather person, especially if there is wind. Too cold for me, I’d rather stay in and make chili, which is what I did today. But, if there’s one good thing about cold weather it’s the warming beers of winter. You know the ones I’m talking about, the spicy, the coffee, the chocolate. This weekend I have chosen three of my favorites.

1) Labyrinth Black ale. 13.2 % ABV. Brewed with Licorice and aged in oak barrels.

Aroma: Chocolate, licorice and roasted coffee bean aromas up front. Really nice sweetness of brown sugar and vanilla backing the roasty stout tones. There is certainly some alcohol present in the aroma, but it feels far less than the 13.2% listed. Incredibly balanced.

Taste: Milk chocolate and licorice provide a nice sweet backbone. Lots of vanilla, coffee beans and molasses notes are present as well. A slight rye spiciness as well. Some earthy tones as well that add a nice complexity. A touch of oxidation is present, but it is not too strong at all. The alcohol is really toned down but still retains the warming qualities.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy. Velvety in feel and warming throughout. Nicely carbonated for a beer that is dated 10-25-2011

2) Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout brewed with Hard Core Coffee 9.2% ABV
Aroma- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness and some good coffee aromas followed by some dark chocolate, roasted malts, and a slight charred aroma. After that comes a sweet cream aroma with just a slight bit of caramel to give it that Cappuccino like aroma.

Taste- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a nice lower amount of medium sweetness followed by some nice coffee flavors. After that comes some dark chocolate, some more black coffee that was a little bitter, roasted malts, and a really slight charred flavor. Towards the end I get a little of booze with a lighter amount of medium bitterness and a coffee and roasted malt aftertaste that was a little weak compared to other coffee beers. This was a good tasting beer that was fairly balanced but the alcohol could have been hidden a little better.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, creamy, slightly sticky, medium bodied with a nice amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice with just the right amount of carbonation.

It’s brewed with,” Sebastopol’s Own Hard Core Coffee” I looked them up. Sebastopol is located in the suburbs of southwest Santa Rosa. Looks like a good place to stop in if I’m ever in that area.

Last, but not least: Port Brewing’s  Santa’s Little Helper” Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1″ head. Nice lace develops.

Smell: roasted malt and chocolate are up front, and some coffee tones are a bit softer.

Taste: roasted malt, dark chocolate, some coffee, prunes, mild bitterness, and a hint of alcohol create a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Light crispness to start, smoother and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting as the roasted malt and chocolates linger on the tongue.

Overall: this is a nice imperial stout that is a slow sipper and very tasty.

Well That was my weekend. Looking forward to New Years! Cheers everybody!!

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