Monday, August 5, 2013
Ellen's Coffee Stout
The marketing department from Atlantic Brewing in Maine contacted me a few weeks ago. Apparently they noticed I had reviewed a few of their other beers in the past and wondered if I'd like to review their newest limited release beer, Ellen's Coffee Stout, which was brewed with coffee and vanilla. Um, sure.
I was very close with my grandmother Ellen, so the beer name drew some sentimental memories. Then I saw the label art that depicts Ellen, a diva with dark shades and her name tattooed on her forearm. She's also drinking coffee, at least based on the cup she's holding. On the back, they tell a story, though they leave Ellen a mystery. This story only sets your expectations on the beer.
Nice roasty coffee aroma with plenty of chocolate and a sweet, sugary backdrop underneath. Big chocolate flavors to start, with an exceptionally creamy and silky texture. NOT sweet in the slightest; rather a smoky flavor, even a light char, fills your taste buds.
Roasted malt and bitterness with just a touch of that coffee. I don't really taste that much vanilla. So the two extras the beer was brewed with add only the most subtle of flavors, if any. OK. That's fine.
After drinking half or more of Big 22, I kept thinking that the roasted bitterness was going to build to an unpleasant crescendo. But it never got to that point. Instead, little hints of sweet caramel kept coming in to save the day. Nice beer, great texture. Could have used a little bigger body, but I liked it.