Back East Imperial Stout
1 750 ml bottle, $10.99++, 10.5% ABV
Purchased at Harvest Fine Wines, West Hartford
I was hate-reading my favorite blog to hate-read today and came across another reference to how much the blogger hates beer. This time, she was at an event and was given a free pint of Guinness. She took a picture of her face, scrunched with disgust and fear at the dark elixir before her.
She noted how much she hated beer. Later, in the same piece, she blamed the “carbonation” of the Guinness as the main reason for her aversion. Of course, Guinness pretty much has no carbonation as it has no CO2 in it, but whatever. I should mention that if you are having a beer fest and give her free tickets for positive PR, she’ll snap ‘em up in a heartbeat. Go figure.
Contrast that with a Wednesday night in September 1999 at the Pigs Eye Pub in Hartford. I was there with my friend Rob and noticed a strikingly beautiful woman about 15 feet away at the bar.
She was drinking a Guinness.
I approached her and flirted with her and bought her another Guinness Stout. Now, 13 years later, she has birthed two children that we call Damian and Calvin.
Yes, that beautiful stunner (seen to the left) was my wife, Hoang. And she loves stout. So there you have it, blogger I hate-read, there you have it.
Now, Guinness is less than 5% ABV (and actually fairly low on calories too), which comes as a shock to people. Imperial stouts, like Back East’s effort, double the alcohol.
Good imperials hide the alcohol burn behind rich chocolate and coffee malts. Really, really good imperials hide the alcohol so well you forget it’s even there. Back East does this.
Back East’s Imperial Stout is a full-bodied ale brewed with several varieties of dark roasted malt. It has a complex malt character with underlying hints of coffee and chocolate. A generous amount of English hops gives this ale a pronounced hop profile. This robust ale is unfiltered and bottle conditioned.
Lucky to have Back East in between my house and work, I’ve visited several times. I was actually one of the first people to try the Imperial stout there and, in my tactless but typical fashion, noted, “This is almost as good at New England Brewings Imperial Storm Trooper.”
As soon as I said it, I realized it was a lame thing to say but then I recovered noting that this was Back East’s first batch and NEBCO has been at it for years. Not to mention NEBCO is one of – if not the – premier brewery in the northeast.
While it’s not the cheapest offering available, I have since bought several bottles of this stuff and I very much am looking forward to 2013’s imperial IPA.
Overall Rating: A-
Rating vs. Similar style: A