Monday, April 2, 2012

Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout review

Santa Fe Imperial Java StoutImperial stouts are special just by themselves. When you find one infused with coffee beans it can become even better. Top that off by finding one that comes in a can and it becomes an even rarer breed. There happens to be brewery just outside of Colorado down in New Mexico that makes just such a beer and distributes it up here in the Centennial state. Santa Fe Brewing Company of Santa Fe, NM cans a few of its many beers and makes one of my favorite styles - a coffee imperial stout called Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout.

I happened upon this beer by accident. I was creating my own 6-pack from a selection of singles at my favorite local liquor store and spied this brown 12oz can and knew I wanted to try it. Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout weighs in at 8% ABV and is generally available seasonally between December and March. One side of the can shows a coffee cup and states "before noon" and warns you "not for use with donuts". The other side of the can shows a beer mug and is labeled "after noon". This gave me the general impression that if you are as bold as this beer you might just enjoy this as a morning breakfast beer. With all the coffee put into this beer, it might just jolt you awake.
Not for use with donuts
The coffee beans in this beer came from East Timor and also New Guinea and roasted locally in New Mexico by O'hori's Coffee House. Would this beer fit the bill and stand up as a solid imperial stout?

Appearance: This can of Imperial Java Stout actually opened with a loud hiss and seemed to be well carbonated, even for a stout. The brew itself was as dark as my basement closet. It's a dark, dark brown that I couldn't see through. Even the edges seemed dark. I used a standard pint glass and as I poured I got a nice thick light brown head that stuck around for a long time. The lacing on this beer was very clingy and wouldn't go away without a fight.

Aroma: Oh my! What a rich coffee and chocolate nose this brew has! There's just something about a coffee infused beer that just smells wonderful. The malts smelled both sweet and roasty. It's the kind of aroma that I just wanted to breathe in and out for several minutes. Ya, it was that nice.

Taste: I was hit with a nice bitter coffee taste right up front and was immediately followed by a chocolatey roast. The dark malts were both bitter and sweet at the same time and filled my mouth with a rich full bodied feel. While some imperial stouts tend to be dry, this beer was not. It still had that thick chewy molasses sensation yet it went down very smooth for a higher ABV beer.

Overall: This is one imperial stout that seemed to disappear rather quickly. The flavor is just very well balanced with the coffee. Who knows, I might even try this for breakfast on a weekend sometime. Just watch out though - it's loaded with ABVs and I noticed its strength soon after starting this.

I wouldn't have thought it possible that I could love the coffee beer style as much as I do since I'm not a coffee drinker. I may well be a closet coffee drinker and not even know it. I just have to wonder how much caffeine is in this beer (if any).

I was very pleased with this beer and would welcome the thought of trying more of Santa Fe Brewing's beers sometime soon. Thumbs way up on this one. If you love imperial stouts and coffee beers, you're going to love this one. Mmmmm!

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer as part of a build-your-own 6-pack of singles.

Video showing the pour of a Santa Fe Java Imperial Java Stout :

If you can't view the video via RSS or email please visit the blog or view it on the Fermentedly Challenged YouTube channel.

Related articles:
- Grand Teton Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter.
- Twisted Pine Big Shot Espresso Stout review.
- Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground review.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast review.

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
Don't miss another article. Subscribe to Fermentedly Challenged by RSS today. If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing, re-tweeting, Stumbling or +1'ing this to let others know about it. Cheers!