Now that your eyes have been deceived, it’s time to trick your sense of smell. Coffee is the first thing that hits, sending your mind spinning back to a bottle of Mikkeller Koppi Coffee IPA, only this beer’s more intense and sweeter. The aroma is of maple syrup, chocolate, oranges, oak, and the faintest hint of licorice. Despite its hefty ABV, there’s no obvious booze. The nose is nothing short of glorious. You can sniff it for hours.
By now you’re so confused anything could happen. This is a glutinous beer with a thick, warming body, and it’s very sweet. There’s more than a suggestion of an American barley wine with chocolate and coffee added. The finish has caramel and candy floss and is peppery; it ends a little hot.
What does one eat with a deconstructed Blond Imperial stout? Nothing at all, perhaps. It’s massive enough to be enjoyed on its own in a snifter glass (remember to let it warm up to get the most out of it). However, the sweet syrup notes blended with chocolate and coffee make this a fascinating dessert and cheese beer. What about a black licorice crème brûlée or an odoriferous Gorgonzola, Stilton, or aged English cheddar?
Six key ingredients went into this truly novel beer: oats, licorice, heavily toasted oak chips, cocoa, coffee, and smoked malt. The oats help give the beer its incredibly thick, luscious mouthfeel, and the cocoa was grated into the beer after fermentation to allow it to stew. The beer then was aged on coffee beans to extract the flavor without transferring any of the color, and for good measure it also was aged on toasted oak chips for some roasted mellowness. For many reasons this is one of the most enjoyable BrewDog beers available.
DP Review originally printed in The Handbook of Porters and Stouts.