Archives for posts with tag: double

It has been FOREVER since I did a real beer post. Thanks for your patience and putting up with the sporadic posting. Before I get to the beer, here’s the deal: we’re putting our health before EVERYTHING now and so our eating plan allows one cheat day per week. I’m averaging 1-2 beers on cheat day and I’ve been cleaning out old stuff that has been around too long. Not very exciting for reviews! LOL

I did get tempted into Gomer’s midtown location a couple weeks ago and after ogling all the bottles my eyes settled on a canned beer I hadn’t seen before. YES, I am still enamored with the idea of canned craft beers, ESPECIALLY if what’s inside might pour like motor oil!

I picked up this six pack of Santa Fe Brewing Co’s Imperial Java Stout for under $9 and it seemed like a good value. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was an “imperial,” I thought it was just a regular coffee stout.

I’m a sucker for packaging and while extremely simple, the Santa Fe can appealed to me because on one side there is a beer mug that says “after noon” and on the other side is a coffee cup that says, “before noon.” Clever.

Coffee beers are best drunk fresh because the coffee character is quick to go. I didn’t know this until I heard it on Craft Beer Radio recently, so I was excited to try a coffee stout that seemed to be a relatively new addition to Gomer’s lineup (i.e. hadn’t been hanging around long) and was also canned, giving it the best chance of retaining as much freshness as possible without drinking it right at the brewery.

According to Santa Fe’s website (worth looking at, they have a nice lineup of interesting-sounding beers) the Imperial Java Stout has an ABV of 8% uses two hop varieties and four types of malt. The website says they use organic beans fro New Guinea and East Timor that are locally roasted in Santa Fe.

Of all the coffee beers I’ve tasted I would say this one is the most coffee forward. There is no mistaking this as a coffee stout. I’m writing this from memory since it’s morning and I don’t really want to drink a stout from a coffee cup as fun as that seems, but I recall a LOT of coffee character (think cold-brewed coffee) with a good, classic stout backbone.

The beer has a good amount of sweetness to it, not quite like Left Hand Milk Stout but not dry, either. The sweetness is balanced in the finish by an earthy hop character and I would say the beer has good overall balance. I enjoyed one can while eating a couple of Justin’s Dark Chocolate peanut butter cups┬álast week and that dried the flavor of the beer out a lot while bringing out more of the hops and a the dark roasty, almost astringent character.

I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised by this beer since I knew nothing about it going into it. It’s a good stout in and of itself, but as a coffee lover I think this is a great example of what a coffee-heavy beer can taste like when done properly. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another six pack of this again!

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Now that Sprecher seems to be getting more widely available in Kansas City, I don’t mind reviewing this previously obscure (for around here) beer so much! I actually purchased this bottle in Omaha, NE, a few months ago. A four-pack of Sprecher’s trademark 16oz bottles was something like $7!

Sprecher makes some really good beers. I used to associate the brewery with someone I didn’t particularly like from my past (who turned me onto the brewery), so I’m glad I’ve been trying more of their beers and rediscovering this superb Wisconsin brewery over the part few months!

This beer is from Sprecher’s Premium Reserve lineup. It is a Russian Imperial Stout (you can tell this because the brewery cleverly named it “Russian Imperial Stout”), which is a style of stout originally brewed in the UK with extra alcohol (higher gravity) and hops to be exported to the Baltic courts. The “imperial” designation comes from the rumor that these beers were especially popular with Russian royalty.

This is an extremely popular style of beer in the craft brewing scene and for good reasons… stouts are delicious, all sorts of adjuncts like fruits, coffee and chocolate can be added to play with the flavors, and they are fun to drink. What’s not to like?

I poured this beer into my large (16oz) nonic pint glass (the large pint glasses with the bulge near the mouth). The beer poured absolutely pitch black with just the faintest of red highlights in the very corners of the glass. The head was the brown color of the crema on an espresso, deep and rich and fluffy like shaving cream.

I got a little aroma of roast and maybe coffee initially, but once the head disappeared I couldn’t get anything for aroma, and this time I don’t think it’s my nose!

The beer is an easy drinker, with little carbonation and a smooth, silky mouthfeel. If I didn’t know better, I would think it has oatmeal in it because of the texture, but none is listed on the website. This beer weighs in at 32 IBU’s and 8.5% ABV, so it’s not a mammoth stout, but it’s no lightweight, either.

There is some sweetness and dry roast on the front end of the sip, while the hops sort of come in later in the sip from the sides and meet up for a big finish with a little bitterness from the roasted malts. This is a well-balanced beer, with a nice finish that isn’t too dry or too sweet. There are hints of chocolate in the flavor, too, but I don’t pick up any coffee-like flavors despite getting some on the initial aroma. A nice caramel flavor on the aftertaste.

As far as imperial stouts go, this is fairly one-dimensional when compared to something like Bell’s Expedition Stout, for example. I’d compare it more to something like Old Rasputin or even a standard stout like Anderson Valley’s incredible Barney Flatts Oatmeal Stout. That said, it’s a very enjoyable beer, very easy to drink and, after having only 1-2 beers in the past four weeks, something with a noticeable kick for my now lightweight status! This would be a good bar stout for when you’re socializing, not forcing you to think too hard about what you’re tasting. Another winner from Sprecher!

large_lagunitas-hop-stoopidHop Stoopid is a beer brewed by Lagunitas, a California brewery that has just recently begun being carried in the Kansas City area. I bought a 22 oz bomber at Lukas Liquors in Overland Park. Lagunitas has absolutely no information about the beer on its website, which is really annoying. BeerAdvocate calls it a double IPA or imperial IPA, but at only 8%ABV (which is well within the range of a normal IPA), it seems like a stretch to call Hop Stoopid an imperial. The label lists it as being 102 IBU’s, which is “crazy bitter” on my personal scale!

I drank the beer from my standard large New Belgium beer snifter, and I put a pretty vigorous pour on it so I could get some carbonation out of the beer right off the bat. It pours a nice cloudy gold color with an off-white head that settles to a really rocky foam after a while. Nice lacing clung to the glass as I drank my sample.

Without knowing anything about the hops or malt used in this beer, I can only go based on my senses. The aroma is definitely all hops, leaning more toward a piney, resiny quality rather than the big grapefruit scent of other West Coast IPA’s. There is a little grapefruit hidden in there, but these hops seem a little earthier to me than, say, the grapefruit soda-like quality of Caldera’s IPA or something from Stone, for example.

This earthiness carries through in the flavor, too, with the resiny, almost spicy hops hitting my tongue initially. I would say the second half of the sip is a little more citrusy, but the finish is almost peppery and really piney and organic.

This is beer is definitely all hops, but it isn’t as in-your-face as I would have expected from the name and the IBU rating, so there must be a fair amount of malt in Hop Stoopid to lend it a little balance. The aftertaste is long and it really sticks around, but the bitterness is really nice for what I was hoping for. A bomber of this might be a little much for one person (palate fatigue is a real possibility with highly hopped beers like this), but the first glass was really enjoyable and a nice sipper.