Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lost Abbey Serpent Stout

Lost Abbey Serpent Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving Type: Bottle
Purchased at 99 Bottles

Aroma: Massive sweet chocolate upfront with some roasted barley blending into the mix. No real dark fruit character as I sometimes expect with higher alcohol brews (this one is 11%) though there is a hint of spice coming off the top.

Appearance: Perhaps this beer was named after some black snake because it pours the color of used motor oil. And I mean that in the best possible way. Black as the night with a nut brown head that pours thin and fades to a ring around the top of the beer. Somewhat sticky to the sides of the glass, but it holds for only a moment with no lacing.

Flavor: Heavy roasted malt and dark grain bread up front. Dark Chocolate enters the complexity with bitterness, though retaining just a touch of sweetness as well. Subtle hints of prune and alcohol spice play in while the roasted barley and chocolate malt define this massive stout.

Mouthfeel: Full body with medium carbonation. Somewhat grainy on the tongue and all that roast really dry’s out the palate, but there is just enough sweetness and malt complexity to keep things in balance. Alcoholic warmth enters in the middle and retains its presence through the end. This is certainly warming but not hot.

Overall: An incredible example of how to brew with heavy focus on roasted barley balanced out with alcohol spice and warmth. With all the chocolate in the aroma I was really expecting more in the flavor, while it is there it’s anything but a sweet stout. Some dark fruit character would be welcome here, and I’d love to see an Oak Aged version (which exists), but it’s not lacking complexity or body by any stretch. Overall a rich, roasty, full-bodied sipper to enjoy on a quiet evening.

I rated this beer an A on BeerAdvocate.

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Beer enthusiast and advocate. Recognized beer judge and traveler of west coast beer destinations.