Nov 25, 2008

A couple of Michigan made Stouts (for a Michgan Winter)

It's no secret that the love that us here at Smashin' Transistors have for Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery Founders. It's more than just home state pride thing too because what they do is impeccable. This thing they call Breakfast Stout is one of the many reason's why. It's a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout that is only brewed quarterly and in quantities limited to a point where beer sellers have to pre-order it and sit on a waiting list til it's their turn to score some. I don't how far they make it out of Michigan cuz even though I live in the same state where the beer is made I'm way over on the other side where Founder's are a rare sight to begin with and this, for obvious reasons, is even less common than that.
Dark brown/almost black in color with very little head and frosty lacing. Big French roast coffee aroma up front with whiff's of chocolate and, with a swirl or two in glass, hazelnut and vanilla character as well. The flavor is huge on the coffee tip. The flaked oats stand shoulder to shoulder with that and also pull together the semi sweet chocolate flavors in line. Every little flavor character in this brew compliments and bring a balance to each. It's finishes just a robust as it starts never once giving you the impression that this it's an 8.3% cuz it's crafted so well. Full and filling in texture this is a slow sipper but on a cold and windy winter night it's something great to spend some time enjoying while keeping warm. Truly one of the most incredible stouts around. There's also a version that Founder's makes called Kentucky Breakfast that aged in oak bourbon barrels. One of these days I will get to try one of those too.

Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout

The first in the 5 of Dark Horse's annual stout series (one each a month from Oct. to Feb.) and, as it is every winter, always worth the wait. Very dark (almost black) and rich in color with a creamy dark red head that spots away fairly quickly and leaving a decent sized ring around the top of the brew along with a slight lace all the way through it's sipping. Huge roasted malt aromas upfront with dark coffee/chocolate and smokey wood notes along for the ride. It's those kind of smells that remind a winter holiday morning at my grandparents house. The kinds of morning where all us kids were plied with hot chocolate before we were bundled up to go out ride on the back of the snowmobile. Maybe I'm just getting a bit sentimental of days long past but this DOES remind me of that.
Very full bodied in it's silky texture with a whole lotta flavor in the mix. A robust toasted malt is the first thing noticed with a bitter dark chocolate flavor backing it up. The oatmeal sweetness surfaces next not muting the bite of the bitters but balancing them just right. The finish is warm with very laid back/almost hidden hop presence which is a good thing in such brews because it let's the oatmeal and malt characteristics do what they're suppose to do instead of getting stepped all over in the end. Such great examples of complexities to these taste buds all the way through and another gold star for one of Michigan's finest breweries.


freaknhell said...

Diggin' the reviews! And thanks for putting my blog link on yours.

sanilac brew head said...

The Breakfast Stout is one fine beer.

sanilac brew head said...

Also, do you know when the next part of the Dark Horse series will be out?

Dale said...

Hoping that the next Dark Horse Stout hits local shelves soon but I'm awaiting the 3rd one (Tres Blueberry Stout) more than anything (at least a month away for it though)