Monday, May 10, 2010

Coffee Chocolate Maple Imperial Stout Tasting

The second in my series of four Imperial Stout tastings.  This one was inspired by Founder's Canadian Breakfast Stout, infused with cocoa powder and whole El Salvadorian coffee beans, and aged on bourbon then maple syrup soaked American oak cubes. 

Coffee Chocolate Maple Imperial Stout

Appearance – Pitch black. The tan head starts out tall and thick, but over the first few minutes the bubbles combine and burst. A ring of foam remains as long as the beer does (poorer head retention than the plain is probably a result of the oils from the cocoa and coffee).

Smell – The first aroma is pure fresh brewed coffee (rich, earthy, just a bit of spice). After that the chocolate comes out, but stays in a supporting role. A bit of toasty malt character blends in, but this is a mocha aroma primarily. The beer displays just a hint of ethanol as it warms up.

Taste – Good balance between sweet and bitter. The finish is long, filled with slightly bitter coffee, and rich desserty cocoa. Not much maple character, but I think it helps to add some to the earthy coffee flavor. Could use more “beer” character, but it doesn't come off as over-the-top novelty.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel is annoyingly thin and spritzy, just like the plain version. The head isn't as dense as it could be, which would have added nicely to the creaminess of the mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes – A solid attempt at a big coffee/chocolate beer, but I wish there was more of the bourbon/maple flavor from the syrup and cubes was imparted to the beer. Next time I'll age the beer on the cubes longer and add more than 2 oz of syrup per gallon, starting at a lower gravity to compensate.


Unknown said...

i was under the impression that canadian breakfast stout was aged in canadian whiskey barrels.when i had it the beer didn't seem to have much maple flavor.

Andy said...

It takes far more maple than you would expect to get a noticeable flavor, I've added 64oz of Grade B to the secondary of a 5 gallon batch of porter and even that was probably under doing it.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

There are various accounts, but it seems that the general consensus is that the barrels held whiskey and then maple syrup before holding the beer.

Yeah, this was my first time using maple syrup, and I didn't want to boost the alcohol too high. Certainly will go with more than 2 oz (by weight) per gallon next time.

Unknown said...

i've read about people priming with maple syrup,never tried it myself. might be a way to maximize maple flavor without wasting too much syrup.

JC Tetreault said...

I've primed w/ maple syrup to ~2.8 volumes (in a ~6%abv porter). barely noticed it, and even then it might have been more my wanting it to be there, than an actual aromatic/flavor perception)