(Stone Brewing Company/Drew Curits, Fark.com Creator & Patent Troll Killer/Will Wheaton, Actor & Web Celeb/Greg Koch, CEO & Co-Founder, Stone Brewing)
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout w/Pecans
(Known)Hops: English Target
From: Escondido, CA
Brewery’s Note: “This barrel-aged palate-saver has been a favorite among our fans—and us—since its inception in 2013. Pecans, wheat, flaked rye and bourbon-soaked barrels provide this whopping, complex superhero version of an imperial stout with a profound complexity that makes it ideal for cellaring—if you can wait that long. Now, we can’t say this beer bestows jedi powers, exactly, but your taste buds may just be fooled into believing as much. A special thanks to Amanda Conner, who illustrated this year’s label to support The Hero Initiative.”
The beer pours out full and oily, yet with a svelter, more composed look than some of the fatter interpretations of the style. It stays flowing and structured, settling into the glass as a bruised chocolate syrup with a tiny cap of caramel khaki bubbles. The head falls to a tight, minuscule ring around the glass, this leaves sheeted curtains of lacing and tight, thin lacing that slickly slips swiftly back into the beer. All the lacing leaves is a thick distortion of sugar and booze along the edges of the glass. The body is opaque. On the nose, it smells of boozy, chocolate coated peanut brittle. Sweeter toffee and dryer praline work their way into the scent, too, but as it opens, stale and woody bourbon starts to waft more and more from the cup. It’s sweet, a little hot, but with a drier undertone, oaky bourbon, and something that I’m going to call pecan-skins because that is what it smells like to me. Slight Hershey’s syrup, a little bit of brownie batter, and even a touch of cherry cola starts to work its way into the scent, but they are rounded out by the rich nut/wood/booze balance. It’s a nicely executed scent that carries each component well, never stepping out of line. On the tongue, the beer tastes boozy, with a fair amount of heat and bitterness that waft over the mid palate and cruise into the finish. Below these slightly belligerent flavors cruises slight flavors that are still a little underdeveloped. Fruity sweet dark cherry character mixes with drier brownie batter, slight brown bread crust, and sweeter bourbon flavor. The hops are still fresh, and a bit herbal fresh, mixing dirt and slight shallot in the finish. The oak is drying and fairly present, giving a lot of aged wood, tannic snap, and just a hint of almond and coconut. In the mouth, the beer feels full yet well composed and not overly girthy. It’s silky, sultry, and fine, with a low carb providing faint pillowing effects. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left wet and slick, with a tightening of alcoholic burn leaving the tongue a bit astringent. Overall, this is another nice year of the Farking Wheaton W00tstout. It’s boozy, smooth, and nice to sip, and it will develop more in the bottle as time goes on. I think a year or two should find the optimum balance between the rich booze and the sweeter underlying characteristics that are just waiting to come out to play. I love seeing this union of nerd and beer cultures, and I like the age-ability of this beer. A nice midsummer sipper.