At the risk of making a commercial jingle break out, who else out there could use a break? 2016 seemed to be the year nothing could go right, and 2017 is looking to be the direct-to-video sequel. We all just had quite a bit of snow dumped on us, and in general the weather is swinging wildly back and forth like a bipolar trapeze artist. So yes, it’s time for a break.
And I’ve chosen a coffee break. With almond and vanilla and an Imperial Stout, and it’s made by Evil Twin Brewing.
Imperial Biscotti Break is the name of this brew, and it promises a sort of lazy afternoon at an upscale café vibe while carrying the weight of an Imperial Stout that clocks in north of 10%. I can’t help but wonder if I need a full hipster beard before I even open the can. Don’t get me wrong, I already love all of those flavors, but I wonder if making it an Imperial Stout might be going a bit too far. A beer like this, if it’s too hot, will ruin the rest of the lovely, carefully arranged flavors. Well, no point sitting around staring at the can.
It pours as a surprisingly translucent, almost cola-like color with a nice, thick caramel-foam head. It’s fully opaque in the glass.
The aroma is tricky. I definitely get the alcohol, but there might be some hint of almond hiding within. Not much comes through in the way of coffee or vanilla, but there’s definitely an underlying sweetness trying to get out.
Wow! Well, I’ll give it to Evil Twin, that certainly was an experience! The first sip is much like any high ABV stout, but once the initial heat goes down, that’s when the coffee, vanilla and almond hit you with all the subtlety of a high-velocity biscotti to the face. This isn’t bad, just a lot more intense than I was prepared for. The sickly sweet stout comes riding in right behind that with a dry finish that settles in on the tongue and reminds you that you’ve just had a potent potable.
On the one hand, I think it’s too sweet, but then on the next sip, I feel like the ABV is too high, or maybe that the brew could use more body to it to balance things out. Much like our weather, this beer hits your palate with everything it can, and leaves you wondering what just happened to you and to whom you owe money for it.
This is definitely an intense brew, not one for the faint of heart. The high ABV makes this a ‘sit and sip it,’ brew, just in case you ever did get used to the barrage of flavors.
It works though, because as I type this, there are flurries outside, my work is done for the day, the temperamental miniature panther that lives in my house is curling up next to me in what I can only assume is a sort of cease-fire gesture between us. The house is quiet but for the low rumbling tones of either purring, snoring or contented growling (I can never tell for sure).
I think it’s time for a break.