Several Kansas City area beer bloggers are not big fans of Schlafly beers. I think it’s because Schlafly is a St. Louis brewery, and there is that whole St. Louis-Kansas City-East-West conundrum because I think Schlafly has a great lineup and I have yet to drink a beer from them that hasn’t been better than average.
Today I’m trying Schlafly’s Coffee Stout, a beer I have had a few times before. This is a great beer for winter time. A friend brought these tailgating to a Royals game one time in the heat, and that was a big mistake! Duh. Anyway, the Schlafly site says that Coffee Stout is a regular seasonal that becomes available every year on October 24. According to Schlafly, this is a collaboration with St. Louis coffee roaster, Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company and that they “use the cold toddy method of extraction for the coffee.” I don’t know what that means, but as both a coffee lover and a beer geek, it works!
The website lists Coffee Stout as having 5.7% ABV and 40 IBU’s. There is very little bitterness in this beer, either from the hops used or the malts, which can sometimes leave a roasty-type of bitterness. The beer pours a nice dark brown, almost black color. At the very bottom of my New Belgium modified tulip glass I can see a hint of red highlight, but the beer is pretty much opaque. The head comes out a nice tan color typical of a stout and dissipates quickly.
There is a lot of pleasant coffee aroma and maybe a little roast, but it’s hard to separate out from the coffee. This pretty much smells like cold coffee, but without any unpleasant odors you might get with just an old, cold cup of joe. In the initial flavor there is a little bitter bite, and now that the beer is warming up I get a little bit of hop bitterness way back in the finish, but the aftertaste is all coffee.
This is a pretty straightforward beer and more or less a vehicle for the coffee flavor. There is very little in the stout itself that competes with the coffee flavor and aroma, and it works exceedingly well for this beer. I’ve had other coffee stouts that are like a fight between the stout itself and the coffee flavoring. At the same time, even though Schlafly’s Coffee Stout is more or less all about the coffee, it isn’t like it hits me in the head as other coffee beers have. This is just a nice all-around drinker with a nice balance between the roasty bitterness of a stout and the flavors of coffee. This is one of my favorite coffee stouts…. just a great beer top to bottom.