Friday, January 18, 2008

Beer of the Week

It's been a big beginning of 2008 for me: I got engaged, I was offered a large law school scholarship, the Packers are in the NFC Championship. So it's only fitting that this beer of the week is equally big.

Sprecher Brewing, originally from Milwaukee but now in a suburb, is perhaps best known for a soda of all things. Their root beer is known far and wide, and rightfully so; it's delicious.

But this old-world style brewery offers much more than just pop. They have a delicious dark lager called "Black Bavarian," a decent Oktoberfest, and an excellent amber lager, simply known as "Sprecher Amber." But none of these beers are "big" enough to be this week's BOTW. We need something big, something strong, something that reeks of old brewing lore. I turned to a rare offering from the brewery: Czar's Brew, Russian Imperial Bourbon Stout.

I love a good imperial stout. This beefed up version of a English stout featured high alcohol and hops content to preserve the brew for its long sea voyage through the Baltic. Coming in at 11%ABV, Czar's Brew certainly lives up to the "unapologetically strong" aspect of the imperial Stout.

The beer is black, but not as thick as I was expecting, much thinner for example than Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Imperial Stout or Fuller's Breakfast Stout, which both pour like motor oil. In fact, if I had one complaint about the beer, it's that it's too thin.

The head is small but persistent, and leaves some lace on the glass. It's not as dark as the heads on the aforementioned stouts either.

The nose is amazing: bourbon, wood, chocolate, berries, it's all there. Some bourbon barrel beers smack you in the face with whisky aroma, but this one blends it nicely. Some styles are better suited for bourbon aging, and stouts are definitely one of them.

The mouthfeel is thin as well, and slightly dry. At 11% the alcohol dries the taste a little, but it isn't overpowering. A semi-sweet chocolate taste and bourbon mix and mingle.

This definitely a bold beer, and I would buy it again, but if I could offer some suggestion to the brewer, it needs to be a little bit thicker and it's way overpriced. It's going to be hard to find this one out there; there were only 1000 liters produced. It's expensive, but compare the experience you'll have drinking it to that of a fine wine, and you'll be more accepting of the price.

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DannyNoonan said...

Congrats on the engagement buddy!

RyanSimatic said...

Do you check your email? I tried to send you one a little while ago.

Amber Toner said...

I love you!

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Oh, I just checked this thread again now. No, I didn't get an email from you. My email address that I check is dannyj[my last name]