Wednesday, September 9, 2009

71. Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Our fifth beer from Great Divide Brewing Co. What can I say? They make some good shit. And with a name containing both this many qualifiers AND the name Yeti, what could go wrong? What, you don’t like the Abominable Snowman? You gonna bag on my boy Sasquatch? As Sherman Alexie observes in “The Sasquatch Poems,” “Those who say Bigfoot/ are those who don’t believe./ We must learn to fear metaphor.” Take that, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine—it sounds like you’re getting called out for being punks to me. Stoudt’s is down. But I digress. This is a beer that requires many adjectives...

Espresso Oak Aged Yeti—a stout aged on oak chips with coffee added—has a rich ebony and opaque black color and a thick oily tan head. The nose is complex: coffee, vanilla, roasted malt, oak hints, and some alcohol notes as it warms. Starting with a smooth slick creamy rich burnt roasty malt front and also containing chocolate, vanilla, and coffee notes (I warned you about the adjectives), Espresso Oak Aged Yeti moves into a rising roasty malt middle and crests over into the end with vanilla and chocolate/coffee note lingering on the palate, along with some roasty burnt malt flavor. It closes with tannic notes on the tongue—while there is a bit of possible puckering in the middle, the end does dry out and carries with it a bit of alcohol warmth as well. While I found it an interesting and enjoyable beer, specifically for the complex and intricate set of flavors it presented to us, Elli did at times compare it to flavored coffee or coffee cocktails, and the limitations that come with flavored coffee—get your hazelnut suckiness right here. She also wanted a bit more overall rounded body to the beer as well. While I can see where she is coming from, I’m gonna chalk some of that up to this beer still being a bit young—I’m guessing this beer will continue to develop for a good number of years and build into an even more complex beer.

From the Great Divide website: “Espresso Oak Aged Yeti is a new additon to the Yeti clan. A generous infusion of espresso adds yet another layer of complexity to this beer, combining the vanilla oak character, intense roasty maltiness and bold hop profile to create a whole new breed of mythical creature. It's official: you can now have Yeti with breakfast.”

Alright, so their prose is still a bit much. I mean, “a whole new breed of mythical creature”? But I'm pouring it into my glass, dammit.

ABV: 9.5%


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