Saturday, 10 December 2011

Southern Tier Beer Makes for a Fine Northern Dessert

On a recent excursion to Premiere Gourmet in Buffalo, I had the opportunity to pick up a Creme Brûlée Stout from Southern Tier (which is one of my favorite breweries).

Though it makes for a nice dessert (as my forthcoming review will make clear) at 9.6% ABV in a 650 ml bottle, it is (much like dessert) not something my diet nor parenting allows to be a one sitting swill! Well, today, with visitors, I found the opportune time to have this as a shared lunchtime dessert (though actually consumed simultaneously with lunch!) and my thoughts follow.

This beer pours like a standard stout, with a rich creamy off-white/beige head that dissipates a bit quickly with a medium lace trail.  It is not overly carbonated (in appearance or mouthfeel) but is perhaps smoothed out in texture as much as in taste by the lactic acid adjunct.

The sweet aromas this beer exudes are quite compelling.  Strong scents of vanilla so smooth and creamy as to remind you of a rich vanilla ice cream are supported by substantial notes of caramel (another malted adjunct) and what almost seems to be a butterscotch.  This beer quite literally smells like a gourmet ice cream!  Unfortunately, the sweetness masks the graininess of the malts such that the cone smell is unfortunately absent!

The taste is slightly less sweet than the aroma, bringing out a bit more of the grainy, malty, chewy goodness of the stout style tempered by two kinds of bittering hops, but these notes are much more subtle in comparison to the vanilla-caramel-mocha-coffee tastes that (though less flavourful than aromatic) still dominate this beer dessert.  It has a nice creamy-thick and almost chewy mouthfeel with little discernible carbonation that hides its alcohol quite well beneath the luxurious richness.

This beer deserves a few ratings.  Having never had another milk stout, I am limited in comparisons there, but as a stout it is a B, though as a dessert it is clearly an A+.  One complaint however... why serve it in such large bottles?  I guess it is bottled to share, like a cake, but as I often have a single beer alone, why can't I just have a slice?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like my kind of beer. I'll split one with you anytime ;)