Sunday, December 5, 2010

Southern Tier Brewing Co. - Jah*va Imperial Coffee Stout

This potent eleven-percenter is a seasonal release and part of Southern Tier's Blackwater Series of Imperial stouts.  It is brewed with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and a variety of dark malts. The 650ml bottle has been sitting in my 'private reserve' for a couple months.  I purchased it in Buffalo as part of my effort to bring home several New York beers that I can't find in North Carolina, but just now got around to opening it. Not sure why I can't find Southern Tier beers in NC, since they're available in 25 states, including Virginia and South Carolina.

11.0% ABV

Jah*va is nearly opaque. It's black-brown in color and when I held it up to a glaringly bright light, it had a soft mahogany glow. Tough to see any sort of carbonation, but it is capped with a relatively thin creamy, tan head.

Plenty going on here. It is defined by sweet, roasted malts filled with coffee and brown sugar aromas. Woody hops give it an oaky character. 
Taste & Feel 
A complex brew with several distinct layers of flavor. It's dark and malty up front, with strong coffee notes, along with hints of caramel, vanilla and oak. After a smooth start, a woody hops flavor emerges  mid-sip and packs a bit of a bite.

Even the mouthfeel changes gears on you. It starts off smooth and creamy but has a dry finish. It also leaves a sweet, sticky taste on the lips with an underlying hops bitterness.

Very good... complex, flavorful and well-crafted. The only downside is, that at 11%, you definitely feel a 650ml bottle. Drink it slowly, because you can't hope to survive a second bottle.

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