Saturday, June 26, 2010

361. The Lost Abbey Serpent Stout 2009

Our illustrious final week of big beers continues with the Lost Abbey Serpent Stout. This is our third beer from Lost Abbey; the last two were Carnevale Ale and Avant Garde Ale. Spoiler alert and obnoxious prose warning all rolled into one: sorry guys, it’s not a classic struggle between good and evil. It’s just beer.

It’s the fall of mankind!!!

Serpent Stout 2009 pours a deep, rich coffee with a latte-colored head. The nose, however, breaks with the coffee theme—there are chocolate, roasted, dark fruit, and alcohol aromas; the dark fruit combines with the alcohol to create a bit of a port-like or sherry-like aroma that is mixed with a bit of creaminess. The flavor profile is a super chocolate bomb—we’ve got sweet milk chocolate in the front, dry dark chocolate in the middle, and cocoa in the finish. In addition to the chocolate, there are molasses hints in the front as well as some roastiness that starts in the middle and lingers through the finish, coupled with a bit of alcohol flavor, small amounts of chalkiness, and possibly some hop bitterness as well, although we’re not certain on that last one. There is none of the fruit from the nose in the body, or any of burnt malt flavors you’d expect to find in a big stout like this—it is a very different beer from the nose, which is more complex and nuanced. Serpent Stout has a heavy body with a rich, vinous mouthfeel that is a bit sticky and also chewy; the alcohol is kept nicely in check—while there is a bit of alcohol flavor, there are no hot alcohol characteristics on the palate. The carbonation, while having a bit of bite in the turn toward the final third, is pretty minimal in the overall mouthfeel. A good beer overall; it could use a bit more variety and complexity in regards to the flavor profile, but it is still very drinkable. In fact, as it currently stands, Serpent Stout trumps Dark Lord; while both are still young, Serpent Stout is much more of an enjoyable beer right now—while both are good, Serpent Stout drinks easier than Dark Lord.

From the bottle: “From the beginning of time, it was so decreed. ‘From this Tree of Knowledge, you shall not eat this fruit.’ Soon enough, the serpent slithered through the Garden convincing Eve to tastethe nectar from this forbidden fruit. Once bitten and shamed, she then tempted Adam. Together, their atrocious actions brought Original Sin upon our world. Discontent to rest on his laurels the Serpent continued his cunning ways bringing forth more temptations. Ultimately, he foisted upon the world his own Serpent Stout--a liquid so dark and viscous that all who tasted soon fell victim to this evil incarnate. Some turned to false prophets seeking advice. None of it mattered. Each struggle revealed the battle between Good and Evil. And now that you are holding a bottle of this liquid, it is certain he has tempted even you... So, welcome to our Daker Side of Life--home to the Serpent Stout’s Original Sin and the tastiest beer known to man.”

From the Lost Abbey website: “The history of the bible and religion is indeed the struggle of good vs. evil. Our Serpent’s Stout recognizes the evil of the dark side that we all struggle with. This is a massively thick and opaque beer that begs the saints to join the sinners in their path to a black existence. Pours dark and thick, with a creamy mocha-colored head and aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate and french roast coffee. The mouthfeel is full, smooth and round on the tongue. The taste is rich with deep roasted malts, cocoa, coffee and a touch of vanilla balanced perfectly against the alcohol to create an excellent winter warmer.”

ABV: 11%

Elli’s idea for this was to mix Serpent Stout with a cider and make a snakebite, which would not only triple the serpent theme of the beer—serpent, apples, and snakebite—it would play perfectly into the whole Garden of Eden and fall of man theme. But we didn’t have any cider on hand, and were thus left with a good idea with no possibility of follow through. Or in other words, par for the course.


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