Goodness, but I do love a good stout. I like them intense and heavy and sweet and even barrel-aged as much as anyone does, but I LOVE them dry and roasty and sessionable.
|Still life with stout on |
Appearance - Black. Opaque. Like one of the more-famous marks for the style, you can tell in a strong light at the edges of the glass that it's actually a sort of intense reddish brown, but anything more than a quarter inch, it's black. The head on this thing is also silly, with a thick beta-glucan-inspired meringue that reminds me of the ice-cream-and-soda foam on top of a rootbeer float.
Aroma - It's got a nice clean, beery aroma that...wait, what is that? Just at the edge of perception, there's just the barest hint of that elusive-but-unmistakeable rye aroma (can something be elusive and unmistakable? Is that a thing? Is this beer gaslighting me?). Once it warms up, the smell is definitely there, but still hard for me to describe, like an earthy, well-baked loaf of bread.
Mouthfeel and Flavor - When straight out of the tap (where I've got the pressure too high and the temperature too low), this is pleasantly dry and roasty, with just the barest hint that something is different from the standard Guinness clone. When it warms up and the carbonation has dissipated, the slick, smooth mouthfeel from all that flaked rye really comes through, and the roast becomes a little less coffee and more chocolate. Oh, and you really start to get the rye flavor. How do you describe rye in a beer? I've heard "spicy" but to me it's earthy, tending to almost herbal. Definitely reminds me of bread I've made with a lot of rye, but also with a flavor that reminds me of both mint and wintergreen, but without really being minty, if that makes sense. I guess it tastes like rye? It's been years since my last rye stout, and I don't have the best palate, but the flavor was immediately familiar.
Notes - Love this, especially when I manage to serve it at decent cellar temps, where it comes out chocolately and earthy and complex, with a satisfying creamy mouthfeel, but still dry enough to put down quite a few pints in a sitting. I like how the US-05 let the malt come through on its own terms, but in future I would definitely consider a more expressive yeast. While I'm at it, perhaps a more-complex malt bill and hopping schedule...but would it really be a dry Irish stout at that point?