What do you get when you take regular ass world class DAMON and then pump up the jams with a SECOND FUCKING BARREL. Tickers lose their shit, that’s what.
Alright, so 50 people got these in the collected works and then….no one reviewed it. Alright a few people did, but it was conspicuously absent from review sites until the big release went down 6 weeks ago, resulting in pages upon pages of fanfare, butthurt, conspiracies, and other things attendant with beer releases these days. When the dust settled, we were left with a 189 (?) bottle, $35 release. The DoWant pulsing hard in them lower abs.
I think it is safe to say that this beer was the most sought out and anticipated beer release in the past year from Hill Farmstead, but how does it stack up to the already-stellar Damon? You can’t get more than one rock hard boner, there’s like, no such thing as a double boner. Right? Anyway, let’s get up in the guts and see if all the crestfallen tickers listening to Evanescence have reason to mourn their inability to tick this elusive beast.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | ABV ?
A: This sits and languishes out of the bottle like cajoling a second grader to get ready for school. There is a certain tempestuousness to the light crackle of mocha foam that quickly subsides and sits down to eat its cocoa puffs, unconcerned with learning cursive or long division. The lacing is insubstantial likely due to the generous sheeting on the glass that lets you know that this beer did hard time in the barrel SHU, carving wood shivs, plotting revenge. I will say, I miss the coats and coats of wax like on the previous version of Damon, but if you lay this down without trying it, you probably don’t deserve this beer in the first place. The picture above might not make sense since most of the one other time I have seen a picture of this beer it has been a 50ml medical dosage, the legit pour evidences the sheer power and menacing stature that this bete noir imparts indefatigably.
S: This is easily the most complicated olfactory profile that HF has produced this side of MC2. I will attempt to pull apart these strata of eros, this is a complicated moshpit of aromas and chocolatey decadence. The first thing that stands out is a deep red wine tannic profile like an oaky merlot that is buttressed by that expensive ass 82% cacao at the register at Whole Foods. You get a light char but the affair leans more to the sweeter side of things, like a halfway house in between MC1 and MC2, more decadent than the former but not as substantial as the latter. The bourbon seems to be the relief pitcher not the closer, providing a fleeting vanilla aspect. The port seems unquestionably the dominant force in this Romulus Remus cagematch, which is great considering the premium placed on landing this over Bourbon Damon.
T: The olfactory was hard enough to convey and the cascading tastes elbowdrop off the high ropes like Summer Slam. At the outset is a red grape dryness cum de tannic tartness, but the chocolatey Pinkerton gang starts cracking heads shortly, only to be whisked away by a very light bourbon/coconut/oakiness. If you have ever listened to The Locusts and been blown away with a swift 30 second barrage of tastes, you will understand how difficult this is to convey accurately. The wine/port aspects again seem to dominate the roasty/chocolatey/bourbon aspects, but it’s more of a 70/30 co-dominance with oakiness being the underpinnings to the undulating flavors. You can’t really be doing shit else if you want to capture all the aspects of this beer because if you have this too cold or while watching Duck Dynasty, you might zone out and miss the delicate profiles that you shelled out so much to try. It’s like renting a $3,000 escort when you have the flu, save it for when you can reach full completion.
M: This is lighter than Damon and the dryness from the oak character seems to underscore this trait. This is no underattenuated/brownie batter fest, the beer has been massaged into post-menopausal refinement with that port dryness along the gumline and the bourbon wafts tossing up barricades along the bittering zones. Personally, I felt that the competition between the two elements was dissonant almost and preferred the straightforward Bourbon Damon execution in this regard, but I have a short attention span and hate nice things. I eat Kid Cuisines and subscribe to Esquire magazine.
D: Given the foregoing complexity, you take drinks faster and try to dial in what is going on but it takes a solid 5oz just to figure out what goes where. Also, this beer completely changes over the course of 10 degrees so if you like that bourbon roastiness at 55 degrees, wait until you hit low 60s and that port starts stretching its lazy Portugese legs all over your Z Gallerie couch, gurgling out that sonorous language of tannins and Cabernet exploits. It is a shame that this is offered in a small format as it really evolves in temps and in between drinks, something that may be lost on the traditional 32 person .5 oz ballers so common in modern parlance. This is a drastically different beer than Bourbon Damon, more refined, it subscribes to Dupont Registry and Cigar Afficionado and has little in common with brash Derk Lerd plebians. To some, that will be offputting. If you like an adjunct fuck fest with chiles and vanilla beans and scorching bourbon character, don’t worry: Goose Island drops their new shit this month.
Narrative: It was a duplicitous life that Damonick led. By day he was Dom, a prim and proper horticulturist advising local agrarians on a litany of nuanced subjects: soil temp, nitrate fixation, turgor pressure. By night he was Nick, a decadent MDMA using throat in a local post hardcore band. He lived a relentless life and almost never slept. It was this duality that allowed him to live twice the lives that normal people would embrace. One Tuesday night Nuck skulled several bottles of Scarecrow Cab and woke up at 6am with burgundy red teeth and a searing headache, much to Dom’s chagrin. It was a rough, complicated life full of multifaceted fulfillment. Some would counsel Damonick and plead with him to give up the rough hewn night life full of debauchery and bacchanalian exploits, but to do so would be to debase Damonick into a simpler entity. It was the complexity and robust lifestyle that Damonick sought most heartily, that was one thing he couldn’t expect a one-dimensional personality to apprehend.