If you were in the beer trade game in 2010/2011, Silva Stout used to run the yard and remained one of the original SD stouts that performed with grace and panache. It sat on BA”s top 100 forever, was coveted when released in four packs, and represented an awesome riff on the already exception Double Stout. For reasons unexplained to date, there was radio silence on the Silva Stout front and we didn’t see a Silva Stout release for three years. In the intervening time, Green Flash expanded, obtained a massive new facility and unveiled plans to open a 58,000 square foot Virgina Beach location.
Ok tight, but where the fuck is the Silva Stout at, it is the highest rated beer that you brew, make with the Silva, Mr. Silva. Firestone Walker didn’t release Parabola b1 and b2 and then be like “THAT WAS TIGHT NOW ENJOY THIS VELVET MERLIN FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS WHILE WE MAKE MORE BUILDINGS”
In the intervening years since its last release craft beer has exploded even further since the prior apeshit 2012 levels. All those babypalates who were drinking Rogue in undergrad have now graduated and THEY NEED TO CATCH UP ON OLD WALEZ BECAUSE COMPLETIONIST GAMERPOINTS IN THE BEER GAME.
So imagine their hypothetical elation when these new tickers heard SILVA STOUT IS BACK, and there’s a shit ton of it from a Poway facility, and Total Wine is gonna have it, and the Beer Wench is gonna host events where you can just DRINK IT, and it is in classy caged 750mls and it is $19 a bottle and- wait what the fuck-
So the kids who are still Googling what Kate the Great is, they now figured out that Silva Stout is something they should want, a relic from a simpler past. A stout sold at reasonable prices in 4 packs, WHAT IN THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING. Then the photos are released of this MMA meets 4Loko label, and I was like “alright, there’s plenty of beers with dumb labels, Silva stout used to be awesome, I will tolerate this Affliction/Tapout looking marketing.”
Back in 2012 when I reviewed this, I was CORE as fuqqqq and I drank a bottle in front of Bruery Provisions (this was a store where you- nevermind) because I was on parole back then:
It was a thin, albeit complex stout that commanded your attention. In the intervening years stouts have gotten thicker in the attenuation waistline, adjuncts run rampant, and a delicate flower like Silva seemed like the panacea to bring balance to the dark forces.
So enough nostalgic bullshit, what is different about the current batch?
For starters, the carbonation is excessive to the point of being a straight up punchline. Even with the gentle poise of a Starcraft player, my hands could not pour this lightly enough to not detonate in the glass. The beer looks nice enough and Silva stout was never some hefty sugarmaster, but this is downright zero cal, skinny jeans and the malts dont fit.
This “batch one ,cellar 3, 50n-4e” release takes the thin aspect to abysmal depths. It is thin to the point of feeling like a robust porter, somehow thinner than its base beer. The mouthfeel has a watery aspect that leaves little in the complexity department and coats languidly, the entire operation is phoned in like when you would get a substitute teacher who clearly had zero fucks to spare, showing up in cargo shorts and putting a movie on.
Chuck Silva said two months ago:
“Blending should be considered with producing barrel-aged beer, where different barrels are blended together as well as fresh beer blended with aged. The ultimate result should have some finesse.”
What blending should not be: a dilution technique to drive up profit margins/release an inferior product. He later noted:
“The past year we consciously decided to grow the barrel-aged program in a bigger way increasing the number of barrels to over 500 and adding four Foudres that had been previously used for red wine aging. Approximately half are bourbon barrels for producing Silva Stout .”
The precedent that GF is establishing is that expansion comes with serious costs, and the Silva Stout is a glaring example. I am not the type to be all preachy Pitchfork media decrying a larger fanbase/selling out, but when the beer clearly suffers, it is tough to affirm blindly.
The taste is the worst part of this entire affair. I want to believe that maybe in the past 3 years my facehole has raised its standards and perhaps the rebrew of Silva Stout is like seeing an ex in the club like “man I cant believe I usta fuxxx w dat” but that’s not the case here. The beer itself is markedly shittier. The prior silva stout had fresh beer blended in, but it wasn’t almost HALF “fresh beer.” Like if you weren’t paying a 500% markup for marginally different Double Stout, it wouldn’t be so bad. As a result of all the “FRESH BLENDING BRAH” this lacks any barrel character and its virtues hail largely from the pedigree of Double Stout itself, the little barrel present almost seems to detract and make it worse with the component blending. The pricing is just another kick to the perineum and in stark contrast to the days when Green Flash had super reasonable 6 packs….then kinda reasonable 4 packs….now totally unreasonable 750s.
It wouldn’t be so shitty if this were 2012, this would probably still seem kinda remarkable, but the intervening years have produced just way too many exceptional breweries and to make a worse version of a previous legend feels like when Jordan came out of retirement. We good, take a seat.
This couldnt have come at a worse time for Green Flash since rumors are already rampant in the neckbeard community that they are kegging inferior versions of Alpine’s classic hoppy beers and sending them all over creation, but that is a speculative tale for another day..
Oh well, throw in a rack of Totino’s pizza rolls and treat yourself to this stout that destroys a prior legacy in favor of the new Cellar 3 regime.