With Valentine’s Day approaching and stout season in full swing, I decided to share some impressions of some dessert beers I’ve recently tried. There are many sweet, confectionary-like brews available in a variety of flavors and with varying sweetness, but I have selected just four to bring to your attention this week, as beers to share with your sweetheart or your favorite beer lover. And share you should, as most of these come in larger bottles and contain very high amounts of alcohol.
Let’s start things off with a limited-release beer made right here in Fargo. Brunch Buster is a very special release from Fargo Brewing Company and Stumbeano’s Coffee Bar. This once-a-year version of their chocolatey robust porter is infused with 30 gallons of Stumbeano’s cold press and whole vanilla beans to deliver a massive amount of coffee flavor and hints of sweet vanilla on top of the existing roasted malt and chocolate backbone. This limited release is available in select offsales this year and would be a great treat for any fan of semisweet chocolate and coffee beers.
Another limited release that seems perfectly appropriate for this time of year is Sierra Nevada’s Cherry Chocolate Stout. When poured into a glass, this beer formed a beautiful head with thick aromas of chocolate and coffee and slight hints of tart cherry. The taste was much of the same with very subdued tart cherry flavor buried under more chocolate than coffee. I even picked up a bit of raisin and dry wood. The finish is long and nice and clean, with a touch of sweetness and tartness at the same time. Complex enough and not overly sweet, I recommend seeking out this extremely limited brew before it disappears completely.
Creme Brulee is a special stout offered from Southern Tier’s Dessert Beer series. This thick dark black beer smells exactly like creme brulee and the flavor comes almost as close as it does with the nose. It pounds sweet caramelized sugar and lactose at you which is then followed by bursts of chocolate and a touch of bread to make you really believe it is going to taste like a delicious dessert -- and then it does not disappoint. Each sip reveals more and more as salty pretzel bread, vanilla, roasted malt, caramelized sugar, lactose and custard flavors dance circles around a base of thick chocolate. This is much, much more on the sweet side and it’s not hard to see why they label this a dessert beer.
Even sweeter still is a truly special beer created by Founders as a birthday beer for the brewmaster’s younger sister. Lizard of Koz is a barrel aged stout that is heavy on her favorite flavors of Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla, and clocks in at 10.5% abv. Without a doubt this is a beer for those with a serious sweet tooth and I can’t imagine drinking an entire 750mL bottle by myself. That being said, it is packed full of sweet vanilla, fresh blueberry and whiskey flavor. The caramel from the barrel aging only amps up the sweetness even more and it made me think of a blueberry truffle dipped in whiskey and coated with maple syrup. Though it was a bit too sweet for me to enjoy much of, it is a very interesting beer that is certainly loaded with flavor. I am very tempted to snag a bottle before they are sold out and see if the flavors mellow out and the sweetness gets tempered after a bit of cellar aging.
April 26th 2017
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