Sunday, 04 November 2012 14:32

International Stout Day - November 8, 2012

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Originally, stout meant “proud” or “brave”, but morphed into the connotation of “strong” after the 14th century. So, why on earth should this brave and strong beer style not have its own day of celebration? The holidays are approaching, the leaves are changing and the temperatures are dropping, so what better time for a holiday dedicated to drinking the dark, rich stuff?

#StoutDay will be celebrated for the second year, on November 8th. Having a day dedicated to a beer style really has just accelerated the excitement in the craft brew circles as more learn about the intrigue regarding its history and the variety that the craft beer industry has to offer. This beloved beer style has a legendary history. And with its heavily roasted flavor profile, it’s the only style that I know of that goes wonderfully with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Holiday worthy, indeed.

So, what sort of stouts should you try? Be experimental or stick to your usual. It’s up to you! But here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord, Russian Imperial Stout, 13% ABV: This is a world class beer, seriously. Pouring a jet black, sweet bourbon, raisin, vanilla and burnt malt aromas provide intricate depth. The wonderful smell is then fully realized in the taste, adding toffee, an awesome balance and warm finish.
  2. Green Flash Brewing Company, Silva Stout, Imperial Stout, 10.10% ABV: Having just taken the silver in the Wood-and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category at the Great American Beer Festival, this is a really special, limited release stout, currently available only in four packs at the brewery during the tasting room’s public hours. Silva Stout, named after Chuck Silva, the brewmaster. They aged their Double Stout in oak bourbon barrels for seventeen months. According to Chuck, “It starts off with dark chocolate truffles rolled in cocoa powder.” The aroma is wonderful - fudge brownies fresh out of the oven, oak, coconut and vanilla. The bourbon is a nicely subdued and the dark cherry and espresso notes help make it a damn near perfect stout.
  3. Bell’s Brewery Expedition Stout, Russian Imperial Stout, 10.50% ABV: Amazing aroma. Notes of dark chocolate, malt and dark fruit lend beautifully to the complex flavors. Its profile will continue to mature and develop over the years. Finishes up with roast, hops and alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is big and full and the alcohol is well hidden. This is an impressive beer.
  4. Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Imperial Stout, 9.5% ABV: Pouring a deep opaque black, this stout has velvety espresso and chocolate notes – perhaps even some caramel and vanilla. There’s no shortage of coffee and delicious roasted malts. The wood and the hop character help make the beer amazingly balanced. The mouthfeel is creamy, viscous. A finely crafted beer balanced between caffeine and alcohol. Sounds like some of my days.
  5. FiftyFifty Brewing Co.Totality Imperial Stout, American Double, 9.5% ABV: Robust and full flavored, it’s sweet and roasty with some dark fruit and espresso. The roasted malt base is accompanied by dark chocolate and lighter notes of caramel. It has a great balance of flavor. Luscious mouthfeel.
  6. Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Udder Love, Sweet Stout, 5.9% ABV: From their website, ‘We begin with British Maris Otter malt for a toasty foundation, then layer on three different types of British roasted malts for coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavors. The beer is finished with milk sugar from the heart of America’s dairyland, Wisconsin, adding a silky mouthfeel.’ Smell is of dark roasted malt, lactose sugar, cocoa, and coffee.
  7. Alesmith Brewing Company Speedway Stout, American Double, 12% ABV: Fruit and coffee notes dominate with espresso bitterness. Intense dark chocolate flavors blend with a hint of earthy character and alcohol warmth. Slight hop presence and aged vinous fruit lend their hand to make this a world class stout. Creamy and velvety smooth. Don’t miss out on this one.
  8. Deschutes The Abyss, American Imperial Stout, 11% ABV: It pours an obsidian black. The Abyss is aged in bourbon whiskey barrels and brewed with licorice and molasses.  This 11% beer has barrel character, but it’s never overpowering.  Light nuances of oak and vanilla and a kiss of bourbon give it great complexity. It’s definitely on par with a fine dark rum or bourbon as a mature sipper.
  9. Ska Brewing Co., Steel Toe Stout, Sweet Stout, 5.4% ABV: Chocolate and sweet malt at the start and finished with big hints of chocolate and coffee. Faint notes of plum and raisin give it a sweet flavor. Great balance. It’s surprisingly light and smooth.
  10. BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran, American Double/Imperial Stout 10% ABV: It’s aged in Islay malt whisky casks. The pour shows a thin meniscus of soapy eggshell white head. Aromas of rum and burnt currants, raisons arose first, even before caramel and French roast coffee. Flavors very closely mimic the aromas.  The foretaste is surprisingly light, smooth and smoky coupled with light coffee bitterness and malts. The intensity definitely favors the roasted grains with the coffee, cocoa, nuts, and slight whiskey notes.  It’s a handsome beer.

So, what can you do?

Post your tweets about #StoutDay in Twitter. Grab your favorite Stouts (or better yet, drink a Stout you’ve never tried before!) and join in on the conversation. Do you homebrewers have an awesome Stout recipe? Get your friends together for a Stout pairing dinner or tasting and upload some photos of your event to Facebook. Of course, you can also attend #StoutDay events at your local brewery!

Are you a member of Untappd? Log in and post what beer your drinking and get the 2012 specialty Stout Day badge!Get your Stout Day badge!

If you're in the Los Angeles area, join me at The Surly Goat in West Hollywood.  The festivities begin at 7pm.  What Stout deliciousness can be expected there?  Check this out:

- Obsidian Stout on Happy Hour for $4 all night
- Special Tapping of a 1 year old Keg of 50/50 Brewing's Totality Stout
- Special Tapping of Port Brewing / Lost Abbey's Santa's Little Helper

And a few more surprises might follow.

I will also be making an appearance at Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, where they will be celebrating with 4-5 specialty/rare stouts and stout flights all night long! going to later in the evening. They will have 4-5 specialty/rare stouts with flights all night.

At, bars and breweries are able to inform everyone of what they are doing to celebrate International Stout Day.

It’s about continuing to celebrate the craft beer revolution, relishing in this historic beer style, sharing your photos, tasting notes and events - with the world.

On November 8th, celebrate the stout!

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