Remember the Choklat by Southern Tier? Well, as mentioned before, that is one of five beers in Southern Tier’s Blackwater series of Imperial Stouts. The first that I tried, and maybe most ridiculous of them all is the Creme Brulee Milk Stout. This is a beer that really redefines what flavors can exist in beer. Yes, the Choklat was brewed with Swiss chocolate and does has immense bittersweet chocolate flavors and aromas pouring throughout it. But try the Creme Brulee Stout and you will see what I mean.
It has been brewed with vanilla beans to give it a desert like vanilla sweetness, lactose sugar for added smooth character and a sugary sweet body, and among other malts, dark caramel malt. I expect this was the largest portion of the malt used because this beer literally smells and tastes exactly like a Creme Brulee. I’ve said ridiculous once already, but it’s just ridiculous. Really, unless you’ve had this beer before, you have never had anything like it.
The guys at Southern Tier Are some of my favorite brewers, and they describe the Creme Brulee Stout it so well themselves that I have to reiterate it here:
“We are not the harbingers of truth as some may suggest but it may indeed be argued that our brewing philosophy is tantamount to a dessert with a bellicose past. How, you may ask, would a brewery determine a likeness to hard-coated custard? Our response is simple; it’s all in the power of history, and of course, the extra finesse needed to top off a contentious treat with definition.
By comprehending the labyrinthine movement of time, one would not think it strange to trace the errant path of an ordinary object such as a cream dessert only to discover that it has been the cause of cultural disputes since the middle ages. The British founders of burnt cream and from Spain, crema catalana, both stand by their creative originality and we respect that, but it was the French Crème Brûlée, amid the strife of contention, that survived to represent our deliciously creamy brew.”
History and finesse may have come together to create this beer, but I have come to drink it! While it may sound like desert, it does pack a punch at 9.2% abv. It is after all in the Imperial Stout series. But fret not, this beer knows exactly how to handle the power. Pour this big stout from its 650ml bottle into a nice deep chalice with a slight tulip to catch some of the aromas.
It will flow out thick and smooth showing an oil like consistency building a black monstrous beer with a mocha tan head. The foam is dense but short and will live only for a few minutes before it fades to a soft film on the jet black beer. Into the light the stout shows but a glimpse of color; amber browns glimmer, but shadows take over with deep oily black waves as the light fades.
The nose is my favorite thing about this beer, more so than the taste even. It’s just straight creme brulee with a mild alcoholic, almost cognac finish. I’m not exaggerating either. Its it packed with deep caramel, butterscotch, touches of toffee, vanilla, creme, warm butter, a hint of smoke and roast, and finishes with a warm aged spirit sensation. When I first had a bottle of this I finished it, but never cleaned the bottle – I kept it to reserve the scent to show and amaze my friends. Seriously!
So I was pretty excited by this point and couldn’t wait to get into this beer. I served it at cellar temperature (14C, 57F) anticipating a lasting brew that would gradually warm in temperature and flavor. Its a bit of a rush when you first let the stout in your mouth. Massive caramel malts and vanilla crash down on your tongue and flood your palate with rich flavors. For a second all I can get it sweet caramel, toffee and power, but soon vanilla, butterscotch and bitter chocolate make their way across your cheeks and fill every cavity.
Smoke and roasted malts are manifesting themselves on my palate now as the beer warms a touch, and more bitter chocolate begins to show itself. Soft hop bitterness can be found in the back, but is severely dominated by candied vanilla, caramelized sugar, roast and heavy sweet malts. The finish is wamring and cognac like as the nose depicted, and overall alcohol is somewhat apparent in smooth light heat.
It is definitely a treat, but would be very difficult to finish 22oz to myself. It is not as balanced as the Choklat, and is also a bit more brash. Overall I think the Choklat is the better beer, but the Creme Brulee Stout is the crown pleaser, and certainly makes a bigger statement.