I journeyed across time and space to Coruscant, capital of the Galactic Empire, to experience the Dark Side of the Force . . . and does the other side really matter? OK, I drove to Growler & Gill, rather closer to home. This was a tasting of Porters and Stouts, most welcome this time of year . . . and probably all year.
Baxter Window Seat Coconut Almond Porter
This arrives in the glass with a creamy, persistent light tan head over a nearly opaque dark brown. It delivers a fairly hot nose of coconut, nuts, fruit and coffee.The almond and coconut dominate the flavor with moderate malt. Some hops come in to dry the finish but coconut is there all the way while never overpowering or sweet. The mouth feel is fairly light for a porter, and at 6.0% ABV it’s very drinkable. Baxter is a pioneer in canning in New England, in fact canning their entire line.
Pours with a brief light brown head over very dark brown. The nose is quite mild with a hint of coffee. The flavor gives sharp dark coffee, reminding me not so much of cappuccino as of espresso. The finish is moderately bitter, more like very dark roast coffee than hops. That almost sounds as if I don’t like it, but that’s not the case. This could be “Stout for Starbuck’s.” It’s possible that it seemed more bitter because it followed the coconut almond porter. Lagunitas gives a shout out to their coffee source: Sebastopol’s Hardcore Coffee. 9.2% ABV
This is an Imperial Stout, a “Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout.” There’s no reason this should be heavy at all. Yeah, right. Pours with a light, short tan head over very dark brown, completely opaque. There’s a roasty mocha nose with slight fruitiness. On the palette it fills the mouth with slightly sweet creamy coffee, with molasses sneaking in on top of generous malt. Very little bitterness on the end, but plenty of toffee candy. Serve with French toast or ice cream , or just drink the damned thing. I’m not much on stout with breakfast or dessert, but I could be persuaded! 8.3% ABV and a well masked 60 IBU.
This variety of Yeti has the darkest head I’ve ever seen, walnut brown, lacing the glass. The nose is very mild at first, then develops a roasty cocoa aroma. The flavor is very fruity, creamy coffee and chocolate, and a deep base, sort of browned buttery malt. That creaminess continues with a spike of espresso. Nice hoppiness comes in on the very end. It’s not a bitter finish at all…and yet those who don’t like hops will not like this. 9.5% ABV. Rate Beer gave this one a score of 100. When I say “this variety” there are also straight Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Oatmeal Yeti, and I think Barrel Aged Yeti. That may be more Yeti than in all of the Himalayas! I’ll have to look for those.
Pours with a very creamy, nitrous, very persistent head. In the glass it’s very dark brown, close to black, rather the theme of a journey to the Dark Side. The nose is of vanilla and malt with a hint of fruit. The flavor continues these but vanilla predominates, without the roasty quality of many porters, and it doesn’t suffer for the lack. The finish is a mild and persistent sweet vanilla. 4.7% ABV and 16 IBU give a nice gentle wrap up to the evening.
We bid goodbye to Darth Stout, though anyone who calls a Sith Lord “stout” is brave.
Brave but schtupid.