On Monday, on my other blog, I talked about my fear of waiting too long to open a bottle of beer. I purchased some beer last July and didn't actually open it until this past Saturday.
The beer was great, but the building sediment in the glass made me fear it was past its prime and was coming apart, much the way old wine can.
I decided to take no chances and delved into the other bottle I stashed.
Double Naked FishColour: dark, light-absorbing walnut with possible red highlights; a foamy, taupe to deep beige head.
Imperial Chocolate Raspberry Stout (7.6% ABV)
DuClaw Brewing Company
Abingdon, MD, U.S.A.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5
Nose: Dark chocolate, coffee, malt, and a hint of fruit.
Palate: Fresh raspberries and dark chocolate with a dry, rich coffee finish; some hops come through (54 IBUs) and the chocolate returns in the lingering finish.
Overall impression: this is perhaps a nearly perfect stout. There is a great balance between the chocolate, the coffee, and the fruit. The amount of raspberry is perfect: not too tart, not too sweet. It's distinct without overpowering.
What would make this stout perfect? It took me a while to figure that out. I like stouts with a dry finish, like my favourite oatmeal stout, St-Ambroise. But I'm not sure I like a dry finish in a chocolate stout; particularly, a raspberry-chocolate stout. I think this beer deserves something more decadent, creamy, slightly cloying. I think my nose and taste buds anticipated something sweeter while the beer rolled about my mouth.
Don't get me wrong: this is an amazing stout. I'm now anxious to get my hands on more (I wish I lived closer to Maryland). I loved it from the first few mouthfuls to the end, but as I drank I wished the finish was as rich as the start. It starts full and ends with a cliffhanger-like ending.
But that suspense leaves you wanting more.
And as for the aging? It wasn't an issue at all. This is a beer that held up easily over the seven months.