Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boulevard Dark Truth Stout review

Boulevard Dark Truth StoutOnce the snow hits, my tastes turn towards dark beer. And when I spied a 4-pack of a stout that I hadn't seen before - I grabbed it. Today's beer review comes from Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri. They've produced a variety of beers called their Smokestack Series, and this was was their Boulevard Dark Truth Stout. Several beers from Boulevard are available here in Colorado.

Dark Truth comes in a 4-pack only, but used to be available in 750ml bottles. This brew is classified as a Imperial Stout, but with a Belgian twist. The brew weighs in at 9.7% ABV and a big 60 IBUs. The EBC rating is a dark 225. Dark Truth is produced year-round. Boulevard Brewing suggests drinking this brew from a tulip glass. The bottle had a "Best By" date of 04/28/13 - meaning this brew should last at least a couple of years in your cellar.

Boulevard Brewing describes their beer as an "...exotic, inky concoction, the almost magical creation of our alchemist/brewers, who have turned humble grains - barley, wheat, rye, and oats - into pure, black, liquid gold. Layers of complex flavors slowly emerge from the glass: espresso, roasted fig, crème brûlée. Belgian yeast provides a plum-like fruitiness, noble German hops reveal spicy, herbal notes, while the rich velvety mouthfeel mellows to a dry, smoky finish." Wow, that's a mouthful to live up to.

Boulevard Dark Truth StoutAppearance: Dark Truth Stout poured nearly black and built up a big 3-finger brown head in no time. The head seemed to last a long time and a thick lacing stuck well to the side of the tulip glass. This beer poured thick and I couldn't see any light get through on the edges. It's about as dark as you can get for an imperial stout.

Aroma: This beer had a lot of wonderful roasted chocolate malt and dark fruit aroma. I couldn't pick up on much coffee in the nose like I usually do in imperial stouts, but rather this brew had just a slight Belgian-yeast smell and a hint of spiciness to it. I got the feeling this stout would be a bit sweeter just from swirling the brew in the glass and breathing deep. Lingering in the background was a hint of campfire-like smoke, a nice touch.

Taste: I was careful not to drink this brew too cold. Imperial stouts should be allowed to stand for a bit and breathe. There was definitely a sweet fruity taste up front that was immediately followed by a dark roasty texture. The sweetness was nearly a bit tart at first, but once I got used to that the smooth texture of the various malts came through.

My tongue got slightly coated as I would expect, yet it was smooth, slightly drying and thick bodied throughout. This was not a very smokey beer, but rather, it gave the impression of smoked malts and twisted it wildly with the dark fruits and spice of the yeast and hops. The sweetness stuck around from start to finish on this beer.

Overall: I had sampled one of these beers a few days earlier before I sat down to fully review it. At that time, I hadn't known about the Belgian-yeast and thought it to be a bit sweet. Now that I know about the strain of yeast I can understand why this beer tasted the way it did.

I enjoy almost all imperial stouts I've tried and with each one I've seen something different. Boulevard did a good job in creating a hugely dark, roasty and sweet imperial stout with a hint of smoke that became more noticeable as it warmed. The sweetness of the brew seemed to out do the 60 IBUs that were put into this brew and I felt it was just a bit unbalanced. I would have liked to see a bit more coffee notes in this brew and a bit less dark fruit and tartness.

Still, on a cool day, this beer was satisfying. Dark Truth Stout was an enjoyable slow sipper of a stout. I might suggest splitting this 12oz bottle into 2 servings due to it's potent ABV value and pairing it with a dark chocolate raspberry ice-cream or other sweetened dessert.

It's nice to know that no matter how many imperial stouts are out there, each one definitely has their own unique characteristics. Expect a slightly funky sweet twist to this imperial stout and you'll be a repeat customer. Try this for #StoutDay on November 3rd!

Video showing the pour of Boulevard Dark Truth Stout:

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Related articles:
- Great Divide Belgian-style Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Imperial Stout review.
- Oskar Blues taps Smoke on the Water and Ten Fidy.

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