Pours Gulf-of-Mexico dark, with a thin filmy head. You smell malts, chocolate, some yeast, and there’s something else. Something different.
At first taste you aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary for such a stout. But there’s a unique flavor that you’re not sure is really there. That’s when you read the bottle and find out they added a “dash of Cayenne” to “keep things lively.” You’re not entirely sure it belongs, and just as that insecurity hits, the rest of the bold flavors quickly put those concerns to rest. “It’s okay,” they tell you, “Great Divide knows what they’re doing here.” And they’re right. It’s like drinking a BARELY boozy-tasting designer chocolate bar. Or so I would imagine, if you had enough patience to melt one.
1. Hops – 3.5 Even on the bottle they said they toned those down, and I believe it. Just enough to counteract some of the malt/chocolate/yeast but you can’t really tell beyond that.
2. Malts – 8 It’s an Imperial Stout. C’mon.
3. Carbonation – 4 Enough that it’s not flat and you can pour a head if you try, but that’s about it.
4. Character – 8 There’s malts, yeast, chocolate, some flavors it picked up from oak aging, and something spicy. It’s dark and bitter and (YES I WILL SAY IT AT LEAST ONCE BECAUSE I AM REVIEWING AN IMPERIAL STOUT) roasty and sweet and spicy.
5. Palate – 9 It all comes together so damn well. It’s not TOO spicy, and it’s not TOO dark, and it’s not TOO bitter, and it’s not TOO chocolatey.
Overall – 9 -1 point because it IS too delicious and I wish I had another. Good job, GDBC. You made a winner. I guess that’s why it took gold at the Great American Beer Festival last year (2013). If you like anything about stouts, or spicy food, or anything delicious at all, you should find one. I hear it also immunizes you from Ebola.