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Firestone Walker Parabola Imperial Stout, This Beer is Turning My Directrix into a Conic Section

Well what better beer to close out Imperial Stout week than none other than good old Parabola, the top 100 Wunderkind that makes trading for almost every other barrel aged stout completely pointless. Trust me, I love Rare and I am obsessed with Rare DOS and Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th, but when it comes to taste, price point, and accessibility, this is the best Imperial Stout out there. I know, it comes in a gauche cardboard box that touts all its merits and accolades, but even hot girls sometimes listen to the Murder City Devils. Stop being so judgmental. Let’s open this box and bust open some vertexes in today’s review:

I have had this beer once on dr-

Another time I had this beer out of the bot-

Another time I enjoyed this in front of my toaste-

ALRIGHT ENOUGH I HAVE HAD PARABOLA SEVERAL TIMES. We get it.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | 12.50% ABV

A: This is such a beautiful beer and, despite 5 straight days of describing imperial stouts, I think I can must up some original content for this one. This has a nice slick inky aspect to it but it is overridingly dark mahogany. It isn’t strictly a flat black like those lame primered out whips that Persian trustees love to embrace. This is a dark mocha that has ample but light lacing. There’s plenty of decadent cake but the cocoa fondant is not insubstantial.

I just wanna get me mouth on this and nurse it gently every single night.

S: The bouquet makes me want to go into my cellar and and open another right now. Just double fist them to overdose on amazingness. TWO TWO PARA BOLAS AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. You get a nice bourbon aspect but a completely inviting chocolate truffle aspect and a clean lingering candied fig dark fruit aspect. You don’t like going to stupid farmers markets? Well they sell chocolate at those at an outrageous markup. This is the farmer’s market without the children and without the markup.

T: This is exception and wraps you with one of those hugs after a long hard chocolate cry, binging bourbon and vanilla beans. He wasn’t the right one for you anyway, Parabola will always be there for you, Parabola will wipe away those tears and carve pumpkins with you when no one else will. It is the everyday stout that is as incredible as the best of the best, but gives killer licorice back massages.

Whenever people tell me that Parabola isn’t that good, my jimmies remain in adamantium unrustle.

M: This is thick but not overpowering like Abyss, it is not overly thin either. The malt profile stays in your room just long enough to lovingly watch you fall into a bourbon nap and then turns the night light off. What a sweet and gentle stout that sweetly tucks 12.5% abv alcohol directly into your brain. You aren’t walking around smelling negligent, it is more of a light finish with a huge robust initial coating. This is the imperial stout that has admirable torque, but incredible cornering: the Carrera of the barrel aged world.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable, especially all up in your Porsche doing sick burnouts, socking nerds, asking girls to show their hooters. Except, it is more refined, with great power comes an incredible chocolate poise. They don’t just toss bombers into special cardboard boxes for no reason except Barrel Aged Double Barrel. This is an amazing beer and can serve as a gateway drug for your friends to absolutely ruin their lives with heavier exploits later on. I wouldn’t have my friends live their lives any other way.

This beer is fulfilling and exciting as the same time. Straight up decadence on a roller coaster.

Narrative: I drank imperial barrel aged stouts non-stop. I cannot write a narrative today. hit the archives or enjoy one of the other 397 beer reviews from last year you ingrates.

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Founders Imperial Stout, KBS, FBS, CBS, Now it IS time to cut the BS.

The first time that I tried this beer was in a bar called “Blind Tiger” in Manhattan and I looked like Jafar discovering a bottle with a malty chocolate genie inside. Then I got into trading and the generous ass beer community ruined it for me by forwarding delicious morsels like this my way on the reg. THANKS A LOT GUYS. So this isn’t breakfast, it isn’t from Kentucky, it has no health care so it sure isn’t Canadian: IT IS JUST A FUCKING STOUT GUIZE. Alright, so let’s cut the shit and get down to business today.

See that there, that is a real pour. Go to other beer blogs, look at the Vanilla Dark Lord pours, 1 molar unit of beer, FUCK THAT. Embrace your self-effacement.

Founders Imperial Stout, 10.5% abv, 90 ibu

A: This beer is as black as an Al-Quaeda masquerade ball. Deep slick oil tones, khaki bubbles, mocha tones, great middle carbonation. Deep murky ink sitting hatefully waiting for someone to love. Don’t you want somebody to love? Or would you say you NEED- alright. The carbonation is legitimate but doesn’t flex on you too hard. It’s like some officious gym advice that scare you but, just look at those malty traps.

finally a beer drank exclusively by non-virgins. This is a tough, beef jerky making, log slaying, man beer, Equal opportunity inebriator.

S: Licorice, vanilla, bourbon, toffee, burnt cigars, and a caramel finish. A complex and interesting bouquet. Beers like this are a bitch to review because the sweet husk of perfect execution makes me have to point out how the hot girl had mid digit hair and build an entire case against her as a result. This beer has mid digit hair, ON MY CHEST AFTER I DRINK IT.

T: This tastes like KBS, introductory edition. It has hints of bourbon, hints of the big coffee roasted notes, but doesn’t take it over the top. The balance is phenomenal and it feels like a powered down version of a supercar, the Porsche Boxster to the Carrera if you will. It is by no means deficient, just hits a different mark. This beer tastes as barrel aged at they come without involving a barrel. I don’t know the exact availability but wow, this is the flagship of the east coast (psst Midwest, whatevs, geography lulz.) Just fantastic through and through, it’s like the FAMAS in every single first person shooter, you basically don’t NEED anything else, but, its a solid standby.

This stout straight werks it, borderline twerks it.

M: This has a great coating, nice sticky coating, not overly possessive, lets you go out with your friends without dominating your life, just a nice resonant stickiness that makes a mess without making your life messy. It puts a bit of a resin on your teeth but it feels responsible. The oral hygenist that leans over your lap a little longer but not uncomfortably, you know the dreeze.

D: This is incredibly drinkable despite the ABV, despite the IBUs, despite the errant nay sayers, you can love your Founder’s Imperial Stout however you’d like. I could drink this under any conditions, well, ok, if I had my testicles in a vice, I would enjoy it moderately less, but still, could be worse. This is amazing and if not for its overachieving older brothers, this would easily be in the top 100. GOD DAMN OLDER BROTHERS THAT STOICALLY LIVE IN BARRELS.

Nothing fishy here, just an entertaining stout, through and through.

Narrative: “I can’t go in there, I promised that this would be the last time,” Doug muttered to himself while sitting in his 1995 Dodge Stratus trying to create an explanation for his situation. “Don’t go to the coffee store Doug, that’s what the therapist said, you don’t need any more chocolate Doug, you know, AH HELL!” he cried out to himself and swung the door of his unremarkable, poorly made sedan. Doug burst through the door and entered the modest foyer holding several bags in each hand with a menacing grin on his face. “Oh for the love of God, Doug, MORE? Seriously?” he issued a flippant smile and proceeded to walk to the parlor and deposit his treasures. The parlor had become less of a refuge from domestic life and more of a Wonka/Starbucks/Scrooge McDuck den of iniquity. He emptied the bags into the pile and bags upon bags of 85% cocoa chocolate, whole coffee beans and even vanilla nibs were embraced by the pile. “THIS IS JUST GETTING OUT OF HAND, YOU, I MEAN LOOK AT THIS!” Madeline pleaded with him. In Doug’s mind, this was not excess, but the paradigm of balance. “Oh sure, one room with 125 lbs of chocolate, 125 lbs of coffee and assorted toffee and vanilla snacks seemed obsessive TO SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND!” Doug slammed the rich mahogany door and laid in his treasure trove of sweet succor. The sheer balance alone was enough, but there was a special embrace he felt while making a coffee/chocolate/vanilla/toffee angel in his living room floor.

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Bell’s Black Note Imperial Stout, the panacea of Michigan winters.

Oh shit, Black Note strip tease:

You dirty stouttease.

I'm no picture, dont leave me hanging.

It's like that scene where they open the Ark of the Covenant.

I can’t hype this beer anymore than the beer community already has so I will let the brewery tell you what this little asshole is:

“One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell’s history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark. ”

So yeah, I had to pull some tawdry Craigslist endeavors to land that tiny 8oz bottle. Dont ask.

A: Deep, jet black motor oil with low viscosity. This has some mild carbonation, but, I obtained this bottle from less than official means, so that carbonation might be lacking due to transit and/or transfer, notwithstanding the bubbles are a deep coffee brown with nice Yuban coating.

MOAR.

S: There are fantastic notes of coffee, light whiskey, bourbon, oak, huge chocolate, a mild vanilla that fades into toffee. Overall there is a mild heat that is wrapped in a great sweetness. The end of the nose is almost like a bourbon quad with deep pitted fruits and figs. The whole bouquet is one of the best that I have ever come across, no punchlines here.

T: This is a world-class stout. The heat is present and comes first with a warming dryness to the sweet zones, it subsides into a light hoppiness that is hand and hand with the coffee and sweet milk chocolate notes. It is incredibly pleasant throughout and doesn’t overpower on any one aspect and the coating is such that the taste lingers but doesn’t aggressively overstay its welcome. It’s really difficult to come across jokes to describe what is clearly such an incredible stout, BUT I WILL TRY.

It took a lot of activation energy to land this beer, but I feel like a noble gas having had it.

M: The mouthfeel is impressive and doesn’t wipe out your palate on either an alcohol basis or sweetening basis. The balance is like those dubious 13 year old chinese gymnasts. While the carbonation was lacking, it didn’t detract from the overall experience because the beer is simply meant to be sipped and savored so the minimal crackling on the lips is forgiveable, like Jehova’s Witness pamphlets during the last two minutes of your NFL game.

D: This is dangerously drinkable for 11.5% abv stout, and not just for my jaded ass palate. I am sure the average Tri-Delt could put away a few of these if cajoled with enough peer pressures (read: cocaine.) But seriously, getting murdered for just 8oz is particularly cruel when the end product is not a let down. The whole beer is a libation that lives and dies in the winter realm, just warms me up and lights a fire in the hearth of my heart. It’s a little chocolate Lord Byron for me to caress and whisper pre-enlightenment phrases to. SHIT IS BOMB.

Is this stout dope all up in my domepiece? I am positive.

Narrative: To the rest of the world, Max Davidoff was a mild mannered high school chemist. Sure his Ford Focus was nothing to look at, and his wry stoiciometry humor was nothing to write home about, but his basement held wonders that would suspend all disbelief. After years and years of testing, he had finally identified what could only be identified as the Chocoromeda Strain in his tattered notebooks. The neighbors stared in disbelief as the hazmat crews cleared the home and brandished geiger counters with solemn reverence. It was simply not man’s place to tamper with the substrata of the chocolate world. The makeup of chocolate was too dear to be trifled with, but Mr. Davidoff would not listen. The chocolate detonation took place at 11:51 p.m. on Wednesday April 24, 2010. The neighbors ran from their KB track homes to find a murky current of liquid mahogany bubbling from the foundation of the home. The air was redolent of chocolate not unlike a single 42 year old secretary’s home while watching the latest Kutcher offering. The chocomatrix had torn Mr. Davidoff’s frame limb from limb, but leaving him in conscious control of the deep heat and bubbly stratum. A series of unsolved bank robberies evidenced that the perpetrator clearly liked chocolate, but would the local police every believe that the robber HIMSELF WAS CHOCOLATE. “Say cheese and die motherfucker,” Mr. Davidoff quipped a dusty R.L. Stein reference just before he claimed his final victim, the school superintendent. Those new microscopes were pretty fucking important and summarily denied. But revenge is a dish best served like chocolate fondue.

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Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, 11.2% abv

Kentucky Colonialism

Kentucky Colonialism

Founders KBS, Imperial Stout, 11.2% abv

A: Deep oily hues, with very very faint brown at the thinnest edges of the glass. The viscosity on this beer is ridiculously thick and it coats the glass like chocolate robitussin. It pours with a big foamy collar and huge khaki bubbles. That dismissive barista could learn a thing or two about your alcoholism if you had the stones to bring this into Starbucks.

S: Wow. Deep chocolate scents with hints of boozy bourbon notes, cocoa and vanilla bean. The wood is faint and I would appreciate a Pappy Van Winkle version of this but, now we are splitting hairs of what is already an amazing beer. It’s like the first season of Small Wonder, just amazing on its own, stop trying to figure out how the robot works already.

T: Again, just outrageously good. Being from the west coast it is difficult to admit absolute defeat but the tag team of this masterpiece with Rare BCBS must make me raise the white flag on imperial stouts. It has such a deep taste to it with a ton of complexity to it. This is chocolate robitussin with a heavy yoohoo coating and hot alcoholic balance on the front. The sweet lingers a bit and the smoky and coffee notes go to work and dry out the back sections of your mouth, which would piss you off if you didn’t see the interplay of how well it works together. It’s a simple dynamic of, drink, coating, swallow, want more, drink more. Again, this is very drinkable and may crack out of the imperial stout cloistering for warmer climate drinking. Some things are just delicious enough on their own to defy pigeonholing.

M: this is exxon mobil in a glass, perfect for sipping because a little bit goes a long way, you put the glass down for a few moments and joy representatives are still within your gumline cleaning seals and waiting for the smoke and coffee notes to clear. Drink it in the morning and taste it all day. Overall a fantastic stout and the only contender to really put an even challenge up against the abyss and perhaps even defeating it, wish I had more test data to contrast. BOTTOMS UP BOTTOMS UP A couple bottles of this simply is not enough.

D: this is its roughest area as it is so aggressive so filling so hectoring in approach you have a hard time welcoming it for long periods, it kicks your mouth all over the room like a spaghetti western brawl and when the 12oz is done you are cast through swinging double doors and brush the coffee notes off of your chest, but you do want more. You want to slide this KBS across an old tymie piano simply because the fight itself is so enjoyable.

Narrative: Claire Murkmuggins didn’t mind the delta. Shoot, half her family couldn’t tell you the way rightside out of the delta. In fact, she kinda liked its murkiness, the way the cool silt ran through her toes when she was fishing for crawdads. The deep black nights where the bayou water looked like shimmering oil, ignited by the moonlight. I mean sure, she liked all that just fine, but what she really aspired to do, I mean, someday of course, Claire wanted to take over the family Chocolate Milk dairy. She grew tired of harvesting coffee beans all day with all the youngins, she had that dark capitalism spirit and she wanted in on that chocolate empire. Sometimes at night she’d sneak into the old cocoa refined and push her slender arm deep into the 70% dark chocolate and feel a secret power in its stickiness. She was refined but poised, in control, but sprightly. One day, she too would revolutionize the stodgy old chocolate milk world.

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Cigar City, Marshal Zhukov, Ferris Zhukov’s Day Off

A Story of the Marshal as a Young Zhukov

This post is a happy birthday to Daniel Behi, who listens to Spin Doctors and sips stouts judiciously.

Cigar City, Marshal Zhukov, 11% abv, imperial stout

Appearance: This is the darkest stout that I have ever seen. This has officially dethroned both Abyss and Hunaphus. The oily inky nature almost tumbles out in an incredibly viscous heavy solution. The coating is massive and lends huge brown webs of cotton candy to the rim of the glass. The carbonation is huge and produces a deep mahogany head, which makes me question if a brew this baleful is meant to be consumed. It’s that 2am text that generates so much hatred, but such amazing results.

Smell: Deep dark chocolate, burnt brownies, candied bacon, cinnamon, and melted toffee. It’s like if a Heath Bar got its ass beat in a slaughterhouse. You know, the old Upton Sinclair scenario.

Taste: The first thing is a spicy alcoholic heat that dances and imparts a whisky peat hot character that melts into a nestle dark chocolate booziness. As you swallow you get a caramel and butterscotch that is underscored throughout by a relentless coffee from the deep malts. Just a relentless and incredibly complex stout.

Mouthfeel: After 12oz the glass that I am using has this incredibly dull khaki color to it. All of the edges have been coated in a sticky hateful caramel sludge. The coating is just incredible and I am happy to have a beer step up to dethrone the Abyss in this regard. When you swallow it just hangs out for ages, lingers like customers at Musician’s Friend. The coffee and burnt chocolate notes resound for ages, like college kids discovering Radiohead for the first time. YOU HAVE TO GET THIS STOUT TORRENT, SO PITTED.

Drinkability: This is an incredible stout and, given its availability and incredibly deep character, I would easily say that it is world class. It makes me wonder what the Final Push is like, the beer that is. Had I never had the Hunaphus, I would lose my shit over this beer but, I wont let that take away from what this beer has accomplished. It isn’t a top 5 stout, but it is still memorable and you could pick it out of a lineup. This is the rapist stout, the one with the lazy eye and the whiskey breath.

Narrative: “MARSHAL! Please, we need your decision, it’s….it’s a massacre out there.” The young private doffed his cap and gripped it patiently awaiting further instructions. The battle of Moscow raged violently just kilometers from his outpost but Marshal Zhukov gritted his jaw defiantly and stared intently into the furniture manufacturing district. “Protect the, the furniture comrade, without nice seats, the soldiers will grow weary, all baroque pieces, must be saved brother.” The brigadier general nodded solemnly and understandingly. Zhukov was a hard man with a penchant for petulant decadence. “Sir, we have an entire regiment of German troops, they wish to bargain, “Begin Ciphered Telegram no. 4976, begin with ‘My sincerest apologies (FN1)” Through the flurry of questions, the dark hearted general maintained his sweet side, despite commanding millions and sending thousands to brutal deaths. “LOOK COMRADE! An icicle has to be formed on the rim of the panzer tank belts, I think I shall for to have a licking.” Oh that wacky Zhukov! (FN2) [On 28 September 1941, Zhukov sent ciphered telegram No. 4976 to commanders of the Leningrad Front and the Baltic Navy, announcing that returned prisoners and families of soldiers captured by the Germans would be shot. This order was published for the first time in 1991 in a Russian magazine (Beginning) No. 3.] “IN SOVIET RUSSIA, REFERENCES FOOTNOTE YOU.” Footnote 2, he did this, citation needed.