Monday, 18 June 2012

Flying Dog Brewery Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

Good evening all. Unfortunately I haven't done a lot since my last review post, so I'm afraid I won't be able to supply you with the usual lengthy introductory discourse concerning my personal life. However, that should all change in a couple of days as I'll be heading up to Nottingham to reunite with my old band for a gig and, whilst that does mean I'll be absent from the blog yet again, I should at least have something to talk about afterwards! Tonight's beer is Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout, an Imperial Stout from Flying Dog Brewery (Maryland, USA). I'm a big fan of coffee stouts and Flying Dog in general, so my expectations are pretty high for this offering. Review after the pic....

Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout (8.9% ABV) pours a jet black colour with a short-lived brown head that settles to a thin halo around the inside of the glass. The aroma is rich and sweet, with dark fruits, coffee, chocolate, toffee and some roasted malt in the background supporting everything. Surprisingly, the coffee wasn't immediately apparent on the nose in comparison to the sweeter aromas and the chocolate, but I suspect this was because of over-chilling as the coffee became more noticeable as the beer warmed up. Definitely on the sweeter end of the spectrum in comparison to other imperial stouts, and the generous coffee injection adds another interesting dimension that amplifies the coffee aromas usually present when using roasted malt. Tasting the beer suddenly makes you aware of the alcohol content, and you can almost feel it vaporising as it warms up in your mouth. Accompanying this sensation are a myriad of flavours, including raspberries, chocolate, coffee and caramel. The raspberries come out more in the aftertaste, with the taste during drinking being more reminiscent of a general "dark fruits" flavour (sweet, dry, slightly puckering). The coffee only seems to make itself known through retro-olfaction- the alcohol and sweet fruits overpower this flavour on the palette- and the caramel sweetness becomes predominant towards the end of drinking, mixing well with the lingering dark fruits. Towards the end of the beer, a pronounced creaminess is introduced which acts as a great base for the coffee, giving a taste very similar to a latte. The biscuit aspects of the malt also become apparent, almost acting as a biscotti for the coffee in a strange way! The finish is slightly dry, with some grape flavours lingering in the aftertaste, and the mouthfeel is not overly thick which compliments the flavours in this context. Overall, this is a very good example of a coffee stout, with the malt base acting as a platform for the additional java but still allowing the other flavours (fruit, caramel sweetness) to come through. I'd definitely get it again- it's on par with similar stellar offerings such as Mikkeller's "Beer Geek Breakfast", De Struise's "Black Damnation II- Mocha Bomb" and Dark Star's "Espresso".

Until next time....

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