While it seems strange that during a visit to Minnesota I would choose to review a California brewed ale, this one was staring at me from the shelve at Blue Max and so here we are. I didn't completely squander my midwestern visit on West Coast beer however. I paid a visit to The Muddy Pig in St. Paul where several local beers were consumed including an excellent Surly Bender served on Cask.
Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
Style: American Imperial Stout
brewed with coffee
Purchased at Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN
Aroma: Initial aroma of caramel that overrides a coffee and chocolate character. Though they are certainly present, the sweet caramel and toffee dominate the aroma. Fruity yeast esters follow up the malt character with unexpected strength.
Appearance: With a mildly aggressive pour this stout forms a frothy tan head that retains very well. The base of the beer is closer to brown than black, slightly hazy at the edges.
Flavor: Very sweet on the tongue with chocolate and deep caramel notes blending together evenly. Through the middle the coffee character comes out, though with only subtle intensity. Light fruity esters work into the mix before an alcoholic spice leads into a dry coffee finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation. The body has a sticky and creamy character that aligns with the sweetness in the aroma and flavor. Alcoholic warmth dries out the beer with a spice that borders on hot but the malt-rich body balances this out.
Overall: Very nice body and malt character balance this beers relatively high 9.26% ABV (is it really necessary to go to the hundredth decimal?). This is quite a sweet stout especially to be considered a coffee beer. While the sweetness is pleasant, it detracts from the expected coffee character. I would like to see a much stronger coffee presence here and there is room in the beers profile for this.
I ranked this a "B" on Beer Advocate.