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!

Trading Stouts – Part 2

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A follow up from my last post on my Pirate Paradise trade with my new Tulsa friend, Michael Holland.  I received my package as promised on Monday.  Michael took a lot of time and effort to wrap and pack each piece – a sign of an experienced trader!!  2016-10-03_15-41-34_413As I gingerly unwrapped each piece, I felt as I was unwrapping Christmas presents…..only to determine I didn’t receive what we had agreed on!  I took some photos and sent a note to Michael, who quickly responded, apologized, and said he would make everything good!  An honest mistake! My second shipment will be arriving tomorrow which will make the trade complete.  This was my first experience with receiving a growler.  Michael took extra care to wrap the growler and it arrived in perfect condition.  The contents of the growler was a brewery only special of Cinnamon Pecan BOMB!   When I opened the growler, it appeared to have lost a bit of carbonation, but regular BOMB! isn’t really all that carbonated to begin with, so it wasn’t a big deal.  What was a big deal was the incredible cinnamon and pecan notes of this amazing Stout.  I must say that this is easily one of the 2016-10-07_17-04-46_338top stouts of the year that I’ve had the privilege to taste!  An amazing and complex combination of sweet and heat.  The cinnamon and nutty tastes followed by the bit of heat that the base BOMB! provides made this Stout a memorable one.  As I was finishing the final couple of drops, I was sad knowing I may never get the chance to have this Prairie Artisan Ales elixir again.  Consider this my humble request to the Prairie brewmasters to consider brewing this again with a distribution to my house!    That said, I am looking forward to cracking open the Pirate Paradise and seeing if it will be as amazing as I expect it will!   Thanks to Michael Holland and the good people at Prairie Artisan Ales in Oklahoma for the opportunity to taste a Stout of this World beverage!

I also had an interesting online experience yesterday that I’d like to share and perhaps get your thoughts on.  Yesterday was Morning Delight Release Day.  Morning Delight is a legendary stout that is brewed on occasion by Toppling Goliath in Deborah, Iowa.  It is a brewery only release with no distribution and yesterday was the release of their 2016 vintage.  It is a very difficult Stout to get and Toppling Goliath deftly and wisely uses the various online beer trading networks as their distribution network (as they do for KBBS, Assassin,  and SR-71).  Toppling Goliath posted a welcome for those attending Release Day on their Facebook page and I took the opportunity to post a comment with a trade proposal (ISO:FT) for a bottle of Morning Delight.
Well, apparently I must have violated a few unwritten rules because I was the subject of ridicule from some – some mocking me for my apparent low ball trade offer, some admonishing me for making such an offer on Facebook, and some just piling on for the sake of piling on.  While I had a mind to respond in kind, I chose not to as it would not have been a productive use of anyone’s time.  My normal thinking is that if something doesn’t impact me or doesn’t interest me, I move on.   I was merely attempting to create some interest in a trade and to start a discussion with anyone that would be interested in what I had to offer….and I also added a “+” to my offer as an indication that I was willing to negotiate and add to my offer.   Unless you make your interest known, you will never make a trade, so you need to put your offer out there and hope someone is interested in what you have to offer….if there is no interest, then “crickets”.  If there is, we talk — see my previous post and my update at the top of this post!   Oh well, live and learn….by the way, I’m still interested in acquiring a bottle of Morning Delight – if you have a bottle of the 2016 vintage and would be willing to negotiate a trade, please reach out to me at rick@stoutwhisper.com.

Have a great Stout week!