Monday, December 20, 2010

Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout & Barleywine

Thanks again to Lynn for bringing these down from St. Louis as part of an early Christmas present!  They presented the perfect drinking material for Dustin and I's home-brewing adventures yesterday.  We were busy, bottling almost 5 gallons of wine that Travis and I accidentally left fermenting for 4 years, brewing a batch of malted cider, and bottling our first beer of the new home-brewing operation, a pale ale.  The wine (which is potent, by the way) is ready to drink, but the pale ale will take a few weeks to bottle-condition before it's ready.

While dealing with all of that, we took the time to enjoy these two Reserve series beers from Schlafly.  Up first was the bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Stout, split between Dustin and I from the 750ml bottle into imperial pint glasses.  The beer is dark brown... really really dark brown to the point where it's almost black, and no light is getting through.  The smell is rich chocolate, with hints of the bourbon aging in there as well.  This imperial stout tastes pretty much like the smell... dark chocolate with hints of bourbon but unlike some other bourbon-barrel aged stouts the bourbon is secondary to the stout.  It's a little thin on the mouth for so much flavor and alcohol, but the alcohol is pretty well masked. Doesn't taste like a 10.5% stout. I'm glad I got to try this one, not disappointed at all. 

Up next was the Oak-aged Barleywine, split between Dustin and I just the same as the imperial stout.  It's a hazy deep amber color, with a small off-white head. Some red in there, a very nice looking beer.  Smells of alcohol and caramel primarily... very boozy.  The taste is more of the same, but much more complex... the booze is there, but there's a great caramel malt flavor blended with other spices and a slight hop bitterness at the end.  Pretty good mouthfeel too, syrupy and thick and boozy.  Very nice beer, I'd have another right now, if I had one.  (Hint hint to anyone near St. Louis anytime soon...)

Imperial Stout:
My rating: B

My rating: B+

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