The joy of a big boy brew
Welcome to the holidays. If there was ever an excuse to drink, this is certainly it. Personally, I like to drink in celebration, but sometimes untangling Christmas lights might just call for a little lubrication. Thankfully, this time of year is great for heavy beers. By the time to make your way through a pint, you’re feeling warm and fuzzy. They come on fast with a very satisfying buzz, full body, and fantastic taste.
One style in particular that comes out this time of year that really tickles my fancy, is the Imperial Stout. The style has certainly grown in popularity over the past few years, adding many variations. They are always dark and they are always strong, usually above 9 percent ABV. An Imperial Stout is certainly what I like to refer to as a big boy brew.
This week, I am drinking Hoppin’ Frog’s “B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout.” I can assure you, the name isn’t the only thing that was a mouthful. B.O.R.I.S. is actually an acronym for Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout, just in case the name wasn’t long enough. It clocks in at 9.4 percent ABV, which is certainly impressive. Everything about this brew promised excitement. The pour was astounding. It was incredibly dark and impossibly thick, reminding me more of a thin syrup than beer. It was a beautiful thing to watch. There wasn’t much in the way of head but in this case, I didn’t worry much. Its dark muddy appearance totally made up for it.
It smelled of roasted malts, chocolate, and oatmeal. There is also some vanilla to the nose and a slight undercurrent of spice like coffee and cinnamon. I’m sure that was most likely from the roasting. If I tried hard enough, I could smell the booze, but it was nowhere near as prevalent as I expected.
The taste was amazing. It took two swallows before I could even comment on it. The biggest surprise was how easy it went down. I was expecting heavy flavor, cloying body, and an alcoholic burn that would make me think twice before the next sip. What I got instead was an incredibly well balanced brew that was a lot more subtle than I ever expected that hardly tasted boozy at all. It starts sweet and chocolatey before giving way to the roasted malt and coffee notes. On the tail end was the oatmeal and pleasant hop backing that gave it a nice savory quality to go with all the sweet. This is one that certainly deserves all the accolades it gets. Its big and tasty and goes down better than it had any right too. I would suggest sharing this one, however. I had a 22 ounce bottle I split with a friend and it was just right. Its certainly not a session beer, as it is plenty thick and heavy. I certainly couldn’t imagine drinking too many of these. Thankfully, there is no need. This is certainly a matter of quality over quantity.
If you need some holiday brightening, or even if you don’t, I’d suggest treating yourself to this brew.
Especially if you are a dark beer lover, this one is something special. Its incredibly satisfying to almost all of the senses, so grab those lights, grab a bottle of B.O.R.I.S., and get ready for some holiday cheer. I’m fairly certain there is a bit in every swallow.