Over the course of the last few days we've had Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and yesterday finally Beer Tuesday. What's Beer Tuesday you ask? The day Saint Arnold's released their latest in the Divine Reserve Series #9. Just like shoppers did last Friday, folks around the city headed out early yesterday morning and began standing in lines, most congregating at the downtown Spec's, some arriving as early as 8:30 am (remember Spec's opens at 10 am). As time went on the line grew and grew, stretching around the building to other street. Me? I arrived at 9:15 am and found about 40 people already in line. For some pictures of the scene checkout Ronnie Crocker's blog Beer, TX. Finally once the store opened I was able to grab my 2 six packs..my only concern being: "Is it worth it?" Well before answering that question we have to answer what type of beer is it. Its an imperial pumkin stout. Yes you read that correctly. It was brewed with a ton of pumpkin (mostly if not all canned) and a bunch of spices.
The Beer: This one is definitely Imperial weighing in at 11%. It pours a rich dark brown almost black with ruby streaks throughout. Capped by a cafe colored head, dense with foam. Very aromatic, I could smell the pumpkin well before holding it before my nose. Wow, its pumpkin pie, there is nothing shy about this beer it is in your face. Pie spices of nutmeg, Cinnamon. Notes of coco show up as well. The mouthfeel is full, my first impression is of pumpkin pie, luscious creamy pie with all of grandmom spices. A malty chewiness is my second impression. Very strongly spiced, the back palate has more rich malts then the front of pumpkin. Surprisingly I don't get a lot of alcohol, which makes this easy to drink.
As it warms the flavors meld together: chocolate, pumpkin, spices all coming together wonderfully. Also surprisingly with all the pumpkin and chocolate notes, this beer is not overly sweet, its balanced in this respect very well.
There are some rough edges to this beer, at times the spices can be over the top and too much conflicting with the chocolateyness of the stout. This unbalance can create a harshness to the beer that can be unpleasant. With the alcohol hidden it has the potential to be easy drinking, but this harshness conflicts with that at certain points. It's an incredibly filling rich beer as well. I don't see myself drinking multiple pints of this in one sitting it would just be too much. I do believe that this beer will do amazingly well cellared and I'm glad that I have enough to do so. I want to try it in six months and then again next year for Thanksgiving.
Taking all this, both the positive and the negative I have to say that I am incredibly pleased with what Saint Arnold has done with this beer, and it may be one of the best beers they have ever made. Now it gets an A- from me, but stay tuned as it ages my grade may change going even higher. The folks at BA are already rating and here's what they are thinking.