Greetings, beer drinkers. Are you getting tired of all these beer reviews? I hope not, because there’s more to come. Today I bring you a couple of dark beauties. As always, I caution you to “please read responsibly!”
Imperial Stout X – Coconut: Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, MO. 11% ABV.
Boulevard Brewing released a number of special release Imperial Stouts in their Smokestack Series. Imperial Stout X was the final release in the series. I had several of the beers in the Smokestack series, and reviewed another one a couple of years ago.
ISX-Coconut is Boulevard’s Smokestack Series base Imperial Stout with coconut added during aging. This beer is not barrel aged.
ISX-Coconut is a typical Imperial Stout – dark, thick, and sweet. It pours black with a 2” creamy head of dark tan foam that remains for quite a while before fading to a substantial ring. The aroma is sweet chocolate, coconut and vanilla. The flavor leads with bittersweet chocolate and vanilla, then fades to sweet coconut and vanilla that lingers forever. The carbonation level is low-moderate, and it has a medium to heavy body and mouth feel. In other words, it’s pretty thick.
As it warms, it sweetens up further. ISX-Coconut has a big flavor profile, which masks the 11% alcohol content remarkably well (but don’t worry, it will quickly get you where you want to go). In spite of this big, complex flavor, it’s not nearly as burly or as pleasing as some other Imperial Stouts out there, and the coconut flavor is a bit understated. This is good beer, but not great, and a bit disappointing considering the price. [Note: Refer to my post of January 5, 2016 for a review of another Smokestack Series Imperial Stout – Tart Cherry Stout. The review reaches similar conclusions – good, but not great.]
The Nothing: Smog City Brewing, Torrance, CA. 9.3% ABV.
With a name like “The Nothing”, this should be an entirely forgettable beer. Allow me to dispel that notion.
This beer is named after the evil antagonist from the epic fantasy book/movie, “The Neverending Story”. The Nothing is described as, “a force of absolute oblivion that erases everything and everyone it touches from existence and leaves no trace whatsoever.” Anyone in its presence is, “compelled to jump into it and meet their doom.” (villians.wiki.com)
The Nothing pours midnight black with a thin cocoa colored head that immediately fades to a thin ring. The aroma is sweet coffee and chocolate. The flavor is sweet chocolate with some coffee late on the tongue. The aftertaste, which lingers quite a while, is a nice, slightly bitter, coffee flavor.
As this one warms, the aroma becomes more chocolate, and less coffee, but remains sweet, maybe even sweeter. The flavor is all about the chocolate, but the coffee forces its way through in the aftertaste.
The Nothing is thick, THICK, THICK, with a velvety smooth richness and viscosity (90 wt. gear oil comes to mind). The carbonation level is low, which helps to give it that thick mouth feel. The alcohol level is low-moderate for an American Imperial Stout, but at 9.3%, it’s enough to “git ‘er done” (after ¼ of the bottle, I had a very pleasant buzz).
This beer is (The) Nothing short of amazing. Oh, and I’m sure you’ll agree that The Nothing is appropriately named (admit it now, aren’t you compelled by my review and description to jump into it and meet your doom?). There are a lot of Imperial Stouts out there, but there’s nothing like The Nothing.
Imperial Stout X – Coconut was a special release and may no longer be available (I purchased it well after the release, and cellar aged it for a while before drinking it). It’s a good Imperial Stout, but not as good as I would expect from a limited special release beer, especially for the price. My recommendation is . . . I wouldn’t turn it down if someone gave me a bottle, but I wouldn’t pay for one.
The Nothing is a winter release (500 ml bottles). Rosie gave me The Nothing for my birthday this year – thank you, Rosie! I can HIGHLY recommend The Nothing, but be forewarned, it’s not cheap, and not always easy to find. That just makes it all the more worthwhile in my opinion. [Note – The Nothing is currently available at Total Wine, $11.99/bottle.] Caveat: if you’re a cheap bastard or a fizzy yellow beer drinker, don’t bother looking for either of these fine ales.
Well, boys and girls, that’s it for now. You’ve got all the information you need, so get out there and find yourself some good beer.