I’m a big fan of maple syrup….the smell, the taste, the romanticism about tapping a tree and letting the sap drain into a bucket. All in all, it’s quite a wonderful nectar of nature.
Not surprisingly, maple has become the adjunct du jour in the Stout world, and frankly, I’m thrilled. The addition of maple syrup to an Imperial Stout adds taste, complexity, a bit of sweetness and an amazing amount of aroma. It is very complementary to the traditional flavors you find in a Stout – and even complements the other popular adjuncts out there today – vanilla, coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, and even peppers!
Probably the first real maple Stout was the first release of Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (affectionately known as CBS). CBS was first released in 2011 and became a cult classic. Founder’s released it again in 2014 in a very limited release, but reintroduced it this past fall worldwide to incredible fanfare. Another stout that pushed the maple envelope was Toppling Goliath’s Mornin’ Delight. First introduced in 2013, MD was one of the Stouts that has made Decorah, Iowa (home of Toppling Goliath) a must visit destination for any Stout lover. Others have quickly followed…can’t name them all, but maple has become a more frequent addition to the Stout world.
My first exposure to maple was with a brewery out of St. Albans, Vermont named 14th Star Brewing Co. with their Maple Breakfast Stout using Vermont Maple Syrup. I was impressed with how the maple syrup added to the complexity of the Stout and was hooked. Then I was able to pick up a Maple Bacon Coffee Porter from the good people at Funky Buddha in Florida and I was absolutely floored with how much maple was packed into their bottles…not to mention the BA version of MBCP, Morning Wood! Just wonderful! Add Michgan Maple Jesus from Evil Twin Brewing and I was on a maple mission! Fast forward to Mikkeller Maple Vanilla Shake and the maple aroma and taste were simply amazing……next came Maple Bourbon Double Negative from Grimm Artisan Ales, then the 2017 vintage of Founders CBS which added to the maple mystique, and then getting a rare opportunity to enjoy a Mornin’ Delight from Toppling Goliath just took my maple journey to another level!
What’s next? My good trading friend from the UK, The Bristolian Stout, sent me an Omnipollo/Buxton collaboration, Original Maple Truffle Ice Cream Waffle Stout and I’m really looking forward to diving into that one! I hear Parish Brewing has a great one called Maple Shade…hoping to find one in a trade! And I would really like to taste a Fayston Maple Imperial Stout from Lawson’s Finest Liquids out of Warren, Vermont….and I hear that Jackie O’s has some very tasty maple Stouts!
What’s your favorite Maple Stout? Let me know…..leave me a comment! I want to find those incredible off the charts Maple Stouts that I should be tasting!