Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Biggest Heist of My Life: Lagunitas Imperial Stout

Lagunitas Imperial Stout

9.9% ABV

72.45 IBUs

A $4.00 bomber of imperial stout? Did I just see that correctly. I stopped, turned around, and came back. I stood in front of that display for ten minutes trying to decide if it was mislabeled or not. I scanned the rest of the store, there were no cameras nor any Ashton Kutchers present, so I was sure I was not on a hidden camera TV show. I bravely reached out and grasped the bottle, hesitating to pick it up. I already planned my Indiana Jones escape route if the ceiling started caving in or a giant rock sprung from the wall and started chasing me. The moment of truth, I raised the bottle and winced in anticipation. I waited a few seconds and nothing happened. I tentatively walked to the register knowing that any minute the clerk would realize I’m attempting to buy a $4.00 bomber of imperial stout. I wondered what the penalty for shoplifting in KS was as I handed the bottle to the clerk. I paid my $4.00 and some change waiting for the clerk to get hip to my game. The transaction was complete and I sprinted out of the store to the safety of my vehicle. I did it, I completed the biggest heist west of the Mississippi. I visited the store a few days later, knowing the price had to have increased on that imperial stout. I located the display and coolly walked over to it. It was then that I realized my adventure was a hoax and the price was right, Bob!

The imperial stout poured dark black with a very brief head. Huge malt, roast, and hints of chocolate hit your nose. The taste followed suit with big malt character and a nice thick mouthfeel. The big roast character was bathed in nice burnt chocolate and faint molasses. The finish had a weird bitterness to it which I assumed was from the various roasted malts. It immediately reminded me of a less intense Goose Island Big John based on that weird bitterness. In the Big John, I assumed the bitterness was from the cocoa nibs. However, there is nothing to indicate the Lagunitas Imperial Stout was aged on any cocoa. So as with any burning question, I headed to the internet. I found a suggestion that the bitterness was actually coming from the alcohol in the brew. This apparently happens in young beers when the raw alcohol has not had a chance to mellow out and blend with the rest of the brew. Hopefully, aging will mellow this brew out because it is really good otherwise. I purchased another Lagunitas Imperial Stout and will re-review it in about 6 months. Even with the weird bitterness, this beer is very good. For the price you really can’t go wrong.


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