I'm popping open my first bottle of Silent Night, Mother Earth's bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Now, I say that this is my first, but I'm certain I've actually had one previous encounter with this fine beer. If you recall, last summer I was able to sample a small batch of a yet-to-be-named stout while visiting the brewery. I'm not sure if that particular recipe eventually became the 2010 vintage, but it doesn't appear that it has changed much since then.
So now, I'm ready to indulge in the 2011 installment of this limited-edition seasonal, which comes corked & caged in a 750 ml bottle.
Everything an imperial stout should be, Silent Night is thick and creamy, completely opaque, black and capped with a creamy suede head.
Silent Night offers up a wonderfully complex bouquet of brown, malty goodness. Whiffs of coffee, molasses and bourbon make this a rather pleasant beer to simply sit with and inhale.
Taste & Feel
Bold, but smooth and creamy up front. It's full-bodied, yet incredibly silky. A rich, robust coffee flavor leads off, accompanied by some chocolate notes, before gently yielding to the softer, sweeter and earthier vanilla and oak flavors, precious souvenirs kept from the summer it spent in bourbon barrels. The finish is a dry and woody and leaves a dusty coffee and vanilla aftertaste.
Merry... Effin'... Christmas. If you can get your mittens on it, grab as many bottles as you can, because Silent Night is, without a doubt, one of the best beers you'll ever taste.