Had a Christmas party this past week and a four pack of this was left in my fridge. Merry Christmas and thanks to the individual who left it behind. I haven't really ventured into the SA Imperial Series at all, so now is as a good a time as any. Served up in a standard, shaker pint.
A: Pours up a dark brown body. Held to the light it has a very light cloud to it and it remains that dark brown body. Very clear other than that light cloud. Pour got me very little, tan colored head and it falls almost immediately. No retention, no lace. Overall, pretty meh in the look.
S: Big and malty, exactly what you expect from a Double Bock. Lots of caramel and toffee. Actually the toffee aroma is incredibly clean and pronounced. Just nice and sweet with a nice undercurrent of booze. Lots of dark fruits coming across. Getting some raisins and figs. Liking what is wafting up my nose.
T: Taste takes a little bit of a downward turn IMO. You know they used a lot of malts and sugar because this bitch is full of alcohol. Lots of booze that has an almost rum like presence with booze, sugar and spice. Although the rum note is nice, it almost over powers the entire drinking experience. There is that caramel and toffee presence, but is gets overshadowed. Little bit of raisin and fig. Little bit of a bready, hearty quality. Yet again, everything seems small compared to the booze/rum note.
M: Thick and chewy full bodied presence. ABV is noticeable in flavor, but it does tame a bit as far as feel. Brings a little bit of heat on the throat but it is minute. Sweet on the palate and doesn't deviate much from that. Aftertaste is all rum/booze and some caramel.
OA: Its not bad at all. It falls short in a couple of areas (look and flavor), and then it rises up in others (nose and feel). It is one of SA's better beers and I can see myself drinking a four pack of this pretty quickly. The flavors are a bit boozy, but they do come together and provide a good experience. decent stuff here.
A very vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, well amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber almost plum color that shows a brilliantly clear cranberry and gold color when held up to the light. The aroma is big and chewy with dense malt notes, lots of complex, concentrated maltiness and no apparent hop character to get in the way. I am able to pick out aromas of toffee, caramelized raisins, Maillard rich malt, big toasted grain notes, hardy brown-bread aromatics and even some rich malt character that makes me think of peat smoke.
Dense and chewy as the beer hits my tongue, while rich it is not overly sweet or cloying, instead it has a rich, complex malt sweetness that approaches being savory at times. A prickle of carbonation provides a touch of peppery texture that can’t really cut through the thick body that is here. Dense, caramelized malt character, a rich Maillard browning malt depth, toffee, a touch of concentrated (though malt derived) fruitiness, a savory richness and a flavor that makes me think of a rich, hardy, lightly sweetened, dense German dark bread that has a kiss of brandy in it. The beer finishes with a touch of alcohol warming that provides just a touch of spiciness, but the malt just sticks to the palate and lingers on for quite some time on the palate. As the beer warms it picks up a hint of dark cocoa flavors as well as some toasted nuttiness in the finish. This definitely has a huge body on it, even for a beer of it’s strength it is quite chewy; this works very well for a Double Bock (which I am now thinking is bigger than a Doppelbock).
This beer is quite clean in both the nose and flavor; it is spot on for a lager and really allows for the concentrated malt character to come out. This is actually quite tasty and actually exceeds my expectations. The aroma is not bad, it is actually pretty good and mimics the flavors that are present quite well, but for some reason it is the flavor that I am really excited about in this beer. This will definitely age for some time in the cellar, but I am going to say that I think this is a beer that is best enjoyed fresh; you want to taste the sharp malt character and age will only round things out here.
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