Love that Maple!

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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.
2018-01-15_14-50-46_783Not 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 2017-12-24_16-59-46_523became 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 2015-12-05_210031113_CE10D_iOS14th 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 2017-03-03_17-10-22_536how 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 2017-10-14_15-40-06_312Ales, 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!2018-01-13_15-29-19_697 (2018-01-14T17_21_54.834)

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!

Taking Stock of the Stout!

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As we get ready to move into the best time of the year…Stout Season….I thought it was time to take an inventory of what is in the Stout Fridge and what is waiting to get into the Stout Fridge.    Taking inventory does a couple things – it is a good reminder of what is lurking in the back of the shelves and it also give you an opportunity to rotate your Stout Stock by moving some bottles/cans to the front of the line.  I’ve been guilty of sampling the most recent purchases when I could be enjoying some aged Stouts!

I found a few choice Stouts that I’ve moved to the front of the tasting line….and I’ve also realized that I need to enjoy some of the Stouts that I’ve been saving…Parabola, Abyss, even a Bourbon County Rare!  Now that I’ve updated my inventory list of what I have, I can plan my tastings and I can get back into the trading mode….

Have you taken inventory lately?

In other topics…this week was Raleigh Beer Week and aside from specials at all of the Raleigh based Breweries, most of the bottleshops are having specials – many are tappings of rare Stouts that don’t usually make it to Raleigh!!  I was fortunate to visit the Busy Bee Cafe in downtown Raleigh and was able to sample some of Terrapin Brewing’s finest – 2013 Wake-n-Bake as well as comparing Single Origin Stouts Sumatra and Guatemala.  Love the Wake-n-Bake!  There were a lot of enticing stout events this past week, kudos to the organizers and all of the participants of Raleigh Beer Week 2016!

Additionally, I received my monthly Premium Brewpublik delivery recently…..an amazing mix of local, national, and international Stouts!! 2016-09-17_171629343_7eead_ios Tasty Stouts from Twin Leaf Brewing in Asheville, NC, Double Negative from Grimm Artisan Ales (NY), 2016  WOOTStout, and a 3-fer of great 2016-09-10_203330000_02abe_iosStouts from DeMolen Brouwerij in the Netherlands.  The neat part of the DeMolen Stouts are that they are all dated from 2014…some great aging!  I already have enjoyed Cease and Desist this past week and really like everything I’ve had from DeMolen!   I also was pleasantly surprised at the MDXXI Mexican Chocolate Stout from Twin Leaf, a brewery out of Asheville, NC.  Very tasty and something I will seek out again!   Many thanks to my friends at Brewpublik – you too can get incredible beer of your choice delivered to your doorstep.  Give them a shout and let them know the Stoutwhisperer sent you!!

 

Some Recent Reviews

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I’ve been busy lately, but not too busy to be tasting and reviewing some recent releases and getting re-acquainted with some old friends.   See my Recent Reviews page for my reviews, my observations, and my ratings, but as a preview,  here are a few of my recent tastings:

I try and review at least two Stouts a week; if you have any recommendations for me, please pass them along in the comments section.  If you are a brewery and want me to review your Stout, drop me a note and we can work out the details!!