Orpheus has a 50/50 K/D ratio with me. There are some of their canned offerings that Georgia locals go apeshit for like a Hootie and the Blowfish Reunion tour, that I just don’t get. Then there are solid workhorses that I would savor having available as a go to option for when I am denying science or doing burnouts in a Dodge Challenger or whatever happens down there. Suffice it to say, they don’t engage in the gauche pageantry of lottery 1pp raffle releases, phanto chairs, DMV lines, hand stamping, f5 japery when it comes to releases.
So what happens when they brew a black patent balls to the chocolate wall 14% Bourbon Barrel aged stout and then add the V word up in the mix? It’s the complete paradigm of hype for blunt palate dipshits who just stumbled away from a Compaq desktop with a Beer Server certification. It’s a tough realm to fight in, and I don’t envy any brewery who takes the bait and makes one of these.
Invariably, dudes with disposable income and understanding spouses will do one of those “19 vanila beer” lineups and the cringeworthy bleary eyes impressions will issue and no one wants to be in the bottom echelon next to Madagascar or whatever vanilla car crash Brew Dog released. This is neither of the two, nor does it flex its lats on the likes of Marshmallow Handjee either. Like a therapist trying to identify what grade was the most psychologically damaging, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
The pour is wildly unimpressive and I was warned of this at the outset. It is Kuhnhenn/Hair of the Dog/Late 2000s Lost Abbey/Taiwanese gymnast flat. As a result a good deal of that waffle cone goodness remains inert unless you agitate that Coldstone tip jar.
I attempted to rile it up and that is all I could compel. About as excited as a middle eastern dude at a Jeff Dunham show. The legs are massive and this has a touch of toasted pumpernickel and fusel notes that are not acrimonious but, when a first date mentions a concealed carry permit, and has heat on them at the Applebees, there is a degree of reproach.
The taste is far better however and this delivers on both the alcohol and the vanilla. It’s like dunking a Klondike Bar into a dram of Weller, and I aint even mad. I have endured the darkest Bruery flagellation and the 18.9% Pugas, so this is hot but I dont need Bandages for this Hot Hot Heat. Sadly, the coquettish body detracts again from the flavor and just lies there like an uninspired cam girl. It is oily and slick on the palate and would benefit from some liveliness but it isn’t a deal breaker. The vanilla is fantastically executed and never feels either understated (i.e. that Cream Soda tier Avery offers) or synthetic (go ahead and pick your favorite Air Wick stout.)
I didn’t finish the entire bottle, not because it was offputting but it just didn’t feel compelling enough to make a substantial donation to the Bank of Mantits. This beer is Not4Goulet to the fullest and exists as a kind of Ford Focus ST: lots of bang for the buck, not outwardly appealing, but can deliver solid power to weight ratio for the cost of entry.