No brewing activity at Mac’s Brew Pub the last couple of months, but that hasn’t stopped me from tasting some new brews. Here are a couple of dark beers to consider.
Knight Changer: Noble Ale Works; Anaheim, California. 8.9% ABV.
This is an Imperial Russian Stout brewed by Noble Ale Works, next door to Anaheim Stadium. Noble has only been in business for about 3 years, but they are brewing some very good beer. Knight Changer is one of them.
This beer pours black with a very thin dark tan head that fades rapidly. The aroma is coffee with slight notes of chocolate. It has a strong flavor of coffee, but is not overwhelming because of the chocolate in the background. There is no sweetness (as is typical of most imperial stouts) – it has a slight bitterness through and through. The original coffee flavor fades to chocolate, which then fades back to coffee. This ale has medium to heavy body, with a very nice mouthfeel. As it warms (always let a heavy stout warm up), it becomes sweeter with more of a chocolate flavor. There are no alcohol notes, even though it is almost 9% ABV.
Overall, I give this beer a high rating. Fairly dry for an imperial stout, but a very good one at that. I highly recommend this beer. I’ve had it at the brewery in Anaheim (as I recall, they have it on nitrogen, which made it even thicker), but this review is based on a 22 oz. bomber I had at home. It’s not easy to find (unless you live close to Noble like me), but I highly recommend it.
The Vixen: Samuel Adams; Boston Massachusetts. 8.5% ABV.
This is a small batch chocolate chile bock, brewed by Samuel Adams. Samuel Adams has recently (in the last few years) started brewing a lot of these small batch beers. This is one of my favorites among those. (FYI – Bock is a dark, strong lager of German origin.)
The Vixen pours dark, dark brown with a light tan head about 1/2″ thick. The aroma is neutral to slightly sweet. This beer has a fairly light body (to be expected with a lager), with a very nice level of carbonation on the tongue. The flavor is sweet chocolate with no hop bitterness. The chiles are felt after swallowing, producing a pleasant warming in the throat. The aftertaste is sweet. Let it warm up and you are rewarded with more flavor and chile spiciness. Although it’s 8.5% ABV, you won’t taste the alcohol in this one. Overall, this a good beer, reasonably priced, but not always available. It comes in 22 oz bombers. I have had The Vixen on more than one occasion, and recommend it, especially to anyone with a sense of adventure who wants to try something a little different.
That’s it for now. More Beer Reviews will be posted soon, so check back often. Cheers!