The difficulty with barrel-aged beers is that they require so much patience. Well, the wait is almost over for fans of Boulevard's Imperial Stout -- the seventh entry in the local brewery's Smokestack Series.
"We tried to make it bolder than it was in 2009 and also noticed that it has some wild yeast characteristics," Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels says.
Imperial Stout will begin appearing on local liquor-store shelves as soon as Tuesday. But depending on the delivery schedule of the distributor, Central States Beverage Company, it might not show up until later in the week.
The Imperial Stout is a barrel-aged beer, which means that the 2011 edition will have different characteristics from the first iteration introduced in 2009. The latest Smokestack release is approximately an equal combination of stout aged in oak whiskey barrels (anywhere from six months to two years) and fresh Imperial Stout brewed at the end of last year.
Boulevard provided Fat City with a preview bottle (but it's still chilling, and the clock is nowhere near noon). Thus, for now, here are the tasting notes they also provided:
Our 2011 version is perfectly black and opaque with a tan head. It has an earthy aroma with hints of toffee, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Roasted coffee flavors with hints of chocolate and molasses are balanced with a slight hop bitterness. The full body of the beer is velvety and warming.In addition, fans of the Saison-Brett might detect a bit of the "Brett character," from the wild yeast (Brettanomyces) that they share in common. As to potential food pairings, Pauwels told Fat City that they're going to try some smoked cheeses and raspberry chocolates with the new brew.