Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kuhnhenn American Imperial Stout

From the back of the bottle:

"This black ale has a malty sweet aroma, a roasty coffee like flavor, and a nice balanced hop bitterness.  This is a bold full flavored stout."

First and foremost I have to give a shout out to Steimie from Beer Advocate for this and the bottle I will be reviewing after this (on a different day) but that bottle will remain a mystery but it has been something I have wanted for a long, long time after having only a sample of it at 2012 Dark Lord Day.  Until then, I have this bad boy and I think I'll live waiting just one or two more days!

I poured fairly aggressively out of the bottle and it was pitch black all the way from bottle to glass.  I couldn't even see any light through the pour so I hope that gives you an idea of how dark this is.  Really no head to speak of except for maybe a half finger of a really thin head and that dissipated incredibly quickly and there is really nothing at all hanging on the sides of the glass.  When i swirl the glass the sides of the glass are coated with a brown film (reminds me of old coffee sticking to the coffee mug).  When it settles back into the glass the small head that is created is a deep, dark brown.  In short, this looks like chocolate syrup decanted into a fancy glass and I am okay with that.

Upfront on the nose I get a nice roasted coffee aroma to it.  It isn't in your face like a fresh Founders Imperial Stout would be but it leads the way.  I definitely get big dark chocolate on the nose as well with a slight sweet chocolate all blended together.  I'm not finished dissecting the aroma and I already have a good feeling that the taste on this is going to be balanced and not just clumps of each flavor.  I get a really small dark fruit note in here as well which I expect but with everything blending together so well it kind of reminds me of what a fudge brownie with raisins and coffee beans would smell like while in the oven.  If I had to think of another imperial stout that smelled similar to this I would pick Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.  Except this is far more balanced.

On the front of the palate I get sweet milk chocolate and as it rolls back further into my mouth it transforms into slightly less sweet and more bitter dark chocolate the further it goes.  Dark fruits play a nice role in this as well.  They aren't their own thing with this, no, they are part of the chocolate notes as is the coffee roasted notes.  Imagine having chocolate covered espresso beans and chocolate covered raisins instead of the chocolate and raisins and coffee beans being their own separate entity.  The finish is a nice roast that isn't heavy on the palate but rather a nice subtle lingering finish.  This is what imperial stouts want to be when they lay in your cellar for years.  This is honestly one of the most balanced beers that I have ever had.

Smooth as silk in your mouth.  This is an incredibly thick and rich beer but is silky in texture and the carbonation really helps.  Not over or under carbed, just a perfect example of the style.  I have no idea what would happen if you set this down in your cellar for a year.  I am curious as to what would happen but it doesn't need age on it at all.  The folks at Kuhnhenn seemed to take the hard part of finding its peak and just did it from the beginning.  Great, great stuff.

Cheers ladies and gentlemen!

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