Monday, November 30, 2009

Avery Mephistopheles' Stout review

Avery Mephistopheles' StoutLooking for one powerhouse imperial stout to try? I think I've found one that is bound to knock your socks off, and perhaps the rest of your clothes as well. Here is an imperial stout from Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado that you may have seen but could have hesitated to try due to it's price tag and high ABV - it's Avery Mephistopheles' Stout - part of their Demon of Ales series.

Even the label looks foreboding with the top of a devil head peering at you from hell. The November 2008 Batch 4 version of Mephistopheles' Stout (Meph for short) weighs in at a huge 15.92% ABV and with a whopping 107 IBUs. Whoa - that's some big numbers. Not too many beers get this big. It's not even legal to sell in some states due to it's big ABV rating.

Avery put in a bucket load of 2-row barley, black malt, roasted barley, Belgian Special B and aromatic malts into this brew and bittered it with a ton of Magnum and Styrian Goldings hops.

This brew only comes in single 12oz bottles. Expect to pay between $8 to $10 for this bottle due to it's big numbers. This is not going to be a quick drinker. Plan on taking this beer slow. One bottle will do ya.

Appearance: Meph poured a thick black liquid with a golden brown 2-finger head and a slight slippery lacing. Not much light gets through this beer. The head didn't last long but I figured a big beer like this wouldn't keep a head especially since this beer had already been aged a full year prior to opening.

Aroma: Oh man - you can really smell this beer in the next room - it's big! I picked up a lot of rich dark roast, some coffee tones, sweet fruit, a bit of hop smell, a hint of black licorice (anise) and noticeable alcohol whiff. There is a lot to this aroma and you know it's a big beer without having to read the label.

Mouthfeel: Yahtzee! Mephistopheles' Stout was attacking my tongue from the first sip. It's very sharp with some syrup-like consistency. It's creamy with some big heat from the alcohol. My tongue felt like it was slightly burnt from the alcohol. I could even notice it the next day! Nothing light about this beer. It is thick and chewy.

Taste: I know from experience that you can't really judge a beer from the first few sips. Initially, the rum-like alcohol dominates the taste here. You have to let your mouth adjust quite a bit with this beer as it's mighty strong. It's very malty, some semi-sweetness from caramel malts, very roasty and bitter. It was almost medicinal at first. A slow sipper for sure.

I wasn't quite sure I was going to like this beer after the first 1/3rd of the glass, but then the big glow hit me (rather fast I might add) and as it warmed this beer become quite enjoyable.

Later on, the chocolate and licorice flavors come out along with some dark fruits. You simply have to give this beer time. Your mouth has to get over the initial shock of this beer before you can start tasting the rest of this beer.

Overall Impression: A year in the bottle may have toned down the 107 IBUs a bit but it didn't mellow the alcohol at all. I think another year might even make this beer even better. Potent is a good word to describe Avery Mephistopheles' Stout.

This imperial stout has a much bigger roast flavor than other imperials. I got a good glow from this beer early on. What started out to be strong and powerful ended up being a brandy-like semi-sweet wonder.

I even poured some over some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and it was wonderful. The ice cream cooled my mouth a bit from the burn. No wonder they put a devil on the label of this beer. One 12oz bottle will give you a decent buzz and that's all you'll need for one night. I ended up liking this beer a lot. I just wish it didn't attack so much right up front.

Related articles:
- Top 12 Imperial Stouts you must try!
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Sui Generis to debut in September.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

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