Stout, stout, stout, stout. I love stouts. So when I found a bottle of one I’d been wanting to try for a while – this very brew, as it happens – I grabbed it up immediately. I’d heard great things about King, so I couldn’t wait to dive in. And while I don’t think I’m cool enough to down an entire bottle in one go, it’s definitely a lovely pour.
Very little head, as you’d expect from such a high abv brew. There’s just too much booze in this beer to allow little things like enough lively carbonation to form a head that does anything more than thinly cling to the sides of the glass.
Damn this packs a wallop. No, not with the abv; the alcohol by volume is 9.1% and sure that’s a hit. I’m talking about the flavor. Heavy with coffee grounds and roasted cacao beans, this stout delivers deep, dark flavors, with peppery hammer on the tongue. There’s a definite hoppiness in this brew, which is just and right as VBC uses “whole flower” American hops here, with a black tea aftertaste that lingers after the swallowing.
With all this uber-heavy stuff going on, I was surprised to find myself tasting hints of fresh air and flowers. Granted, the nose gives away bits of those profiles, but they’re definitely there on the tongue if you sit with it for a moment. And this is a beer to experience, not just slam back. In fact, I poured out half, and after a few sips, I vacuum-closed the bottle and put it back in the fridge for another time. I value actual enjoyment, not getting so pissed I can’t stand without a wobble.
King ain’t one of those sweet stouts, people. It’s bitter, strong, and proud. It’s the beer equivalent of a flame-broiled steak with nothing on the side but the juices seeping out. King grabs you by the hand and drags you through it, and damn if it’s not fantastic. Pair this with, of course, any kind of grilled meat (or mushrooms, as the umami kick of ‘shrooms will do just as well), dark chocolates, black licorice, flan (the caramel dessert would lend a nice sweet counterpoint to all the slam-bang coffee and pepper) or just pour yourself a snifter and really enjoy it.
Storm King Imperial Stout
Style: American Imperial Stout