There is something so comforting about a dark beer in the cold of winter. The roast and chocolate, the hint of sweetness, a touch of toasty malts, it seems to invoke the natural atmosphere of the season. It's something you can snuggle up to the fire with. A good cup of coffee can do much the same on those dark and dreary days. And of course, these two beverages make great friends. The dark, chocolaty, roastiness of the beer and the coffee interplay beautifully if done well. As a bonus, it makes for a great beer to pair with breakfast, whether on a Saturday morning, or Tuesday night. Turned out just like I hoped the recipe would.
Pours a dark brown, almost black, see of lusciousness under a creamy tannish head that persists to a thick cap all the way down. It is too dark to see through, but is super clear with garnet highlights. Foam clings to the glass to the end.
The first thing to blast you from the glass is fresh cold pressed coffee! Roast, chocolate, bold mocha. Not like 2 day old coffee at work, fresh and vibrant, like smelling the coffee grinder after a fresh batch. Under the coffee are notes of walnut skins, rich toffee, and biscuits. There are also some mild dark fruit esters in the background.
Tastes like a barista prepared you the best cup of Joe. Coffee dominates with mild roast and dark chocolate. There is a low level of earthy hop notes that pair well with the roast and coffee, layered over bitter chocolate, biscuits, and walnut skins. Hop bitterness is in the medium range and could use a boost to help the finish hit with a touch more oomph.
Medium body gives way to a semi-sweet finish that is balanced out by the bitterness and roast which linger on the palate. Medium carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. There is something slightly off in the end, it sits a little flabby. Needs to either have a few more IBUs or a few more points off the FG to give it a finishing punch.
The combination of the base beer and the coffee beans is exquisite. Hard to tell where the coffee ends and the beer begins. The sweetness of the beer pairs well with the roast in the malt and coffee, and is balanced well with the bitterness of the hops. Multi layered beer as the coffee kicks hard and then gives way to toffee, chocolate, toasty malts, and earthy hops below. The stonefruit esters from the yeast play well with the cherry notes from the beans as well. Again, the finish needs a little more punch to it, but otherwise a wonderful beer. And at 5.5% you can have a few.