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Jackie O’s 2010 Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition, If you gotta see apparitions, at least make them dark.

Jackie O’s is the king of Ohio. There, I said it. But that is kinda like being the sexiest person at a Babylon 5 convention, it really doesn’t mean that much. Anyway, they turn out what seems like a billion “limited” ticks, such that I can’t even keep up with the factory assembly of things coming out of there, Brown Reclusive, Cab Man, Dark Oil, Apparition Aphrodite, it goes on and on. Let’s take a sample from their flagship and see if this apparition can scare the shit out of anyone.

Jackie O’s, more like Tickie O’s they make about a billion variants of this fucking beer. Add Oil of Aphrodite into the mix and that’s a cool 500 “different” beers.

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery
Ohio, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.50% ABV

A: See above, it is pretty par for the course but shanks a right directly into the water. I wasn’t expecting something that touts its obscurity to be so…non-obscure…apprehendable? It has a watery sheen to it like Czar Jack that doesn’t exactly have me Czar Jacking off, but the sheeting and frothiness is pretty inviting, I must say. There’s a huge bait and switch going on here as well, pour out a Hill Farmstead growler BAM OHIO instead of Vermont. Quite the rickroll.

Rare bourbon barrel stouts? Why yes, I am interested, go on…

S: The smell has some bourbon oak, sticky vanilla like a macaroon that’s light on the coconut, nice sweet caramel notes and some baker’s chocolate on the back end. It would be hard to pick out of a lineup, IF THAT LINEUP WAS MADE OF WORLD CLASS STOUTS. It’s not a bad thing to be indistinct in that instance. The waft isn’t intense but it is still praiseworthy, like the last season of Blossom.WHOA.

T: The chocolate comes on first with some light sweet bourbon that follows sheepishly with a cadre of the familiar guys, albeit, in a sort of knock off toned down manner. RC Cola vanilla and oak notes, Mountain Mist bits of stone fruits, and a dash of Shasta coffee flavors round out the acidity on the backend. it isn’t bad, it just feels TOO familiar, like a cyborg stout sent to me to replace my loved one. It’s just like…where do I put…eh nevermind.

At first I didn’t know what was going on, but then things got familiar real quickly.

M: As I noted before, this is thin and slick and actually wins huge points for masking the ABV and making this an intensely drinkable stout. The 750ml that I had disappeared like I was straight up shooting apparitions with a proton pack aka my liver. The PK meter was off the charts AKA I had to urinate. It was fulfilling through and through with light coating but huge flavor.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and dangerously light in body and coating so that you glass is empty much faster than your liver would probably like. I would highly recommend this to anyone that needs to convert some non-believers into the dark side.

This beer is big and tough, but fits in with any crowd or palate. Even people from the Garden State can enjoy this gem.

Narrative: And on the seventh day he rested. No narrative today, blame it on the stouts.

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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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Nail Brewing, Clout Stout, This Australian Brewery Just Nailed Me Harder than a Beta bro.

Alright so from Cabo to Vermont to…Australia we travel today to sample this super .rar 300 bottle gem. Mad props to my Aussie homie Pat for hooking this up, keeping it cutty with backwards flowing toilets. Alright so you’re thinking “So what, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, we have that shit here in (wherever assholes live.)” Well sure, but I thought that I knew what candy was until I tried some of those dope Bimbo jams coming from down south, so let’s see what is going on in that penal colony and determine if having the world’s best beaches has helped them step up their alegame.

Ehhh damn I think I just got a Clout, it’s pointing to the left-

Nail Brewing Australia Pty Ltd
Australia
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.60% ABV

A: First and foremost, can we talk about how fucking awesome that bottle is? I think I am nailed up just looking at it. Clearly the Aussies love to develop a bottle that will 1) cost a fuckton to ship to the US and 2) can be used as a bludgeoning weapon once you drill all 750ml of 10% stout inside. That’s how I roll with growlers so maybe they know me better than I know myself. The beer itself is slick with nice wateriness that doesn’t coat massively but leaves some nice mocha frap foam on the edges and the slightest sight of this beer will make you instantly unattractive to all chicks born later than 1991, oh well, haters gonna hate.

Sometimes you just know you are taking on more than you should at the outset, with awesome results.

S: This takes you to the candy shop and proceeds to demand that you lick the lollipop. It has a deep frothy Nestle Quik aspect of sweet diluted chocolate and Horchata sweetness that goes to a nice pumpernickle dryness to round shit out. I don’t see myself drinking this after hitting sick barrels or getting super pitted but hey, I have never been to Australia. If I went down there and merked this entire bottle to myself, I would probably be down to teabag a rattlesnake. Don’t threaten me with a good time.

T: If the smell took you to the candyshop, then this is like getting sucked up into the chocolate water tube like Augustus Gloop. It is watery but not in a bad way, like it knows that if it was thicker this would take you to Darklordville real quick, population: no one in Australia. I like the gentle chocolate, mochafoam mixed with light coffee dryness, real sweet raisinette aspect to the finish that sticks the landing. Again to beat this aboriginal horse, this is sweet sticky icky ooh wee, put it in the air. You ever use magic shell but are too much of an impatient fat ass to allow it to congeal into a shell? Well this is what you get, slick, thick, watery, and sweet at the same time, like that stripper from Houston whose false name you can’t remember.

It all started so fun, awesome bottle then, oh shit Austalians just beat my ass, by proxy.

M: This is slick and gentle, splishy splashy by our American standards but it is not any worse off as a result. I like the agile aspect to this big beer and it comes across like Nightcrawler, nimble, steady, but can teleport you into some fucked up situations. The bubbles have a crackliness to them that is satisfying but drying at the same time.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and, like most good things, it is gone incredibly quickly. This reminds me of what would happen if you amped up Czar jack or another thin bodied stout to the sweet/Imperial Milk Stout direction. Not saying you need to talk to your kids about this style but, it is never too early. Remember that, it is never to early to warn your children about the dangers of Imperial Russian Milk Stouts from Australia Aged in Bourbon Barrels. Now you know.

Sure, it looks sweet and fun, but just try explaining to animal control how you got your genitals mangled by an otter.

Narrative: The speculative interests of the East Connecticut Trading Empire knew no bounds. While technically no one “owned” the south pacific island, the Connecticut government sent a flotilla of its most able seamen to claim it for the CT empire. Their public school system was an embarassment, their national image was tattered after Ernest Borgnine hit the scene, and this was just the act of aggression that would put old CT back on the map. The settlers wished to plant a new export crop, coffee, which seemed to be the rage with all the intellectuals that that fled their state, so they hoped to regain social image by founding Hipstonia, a coffee plantation that would disband if that residents all agreed that it was getting too incorporated. However, they tapped into a deep herbaceous presence, g4 cacao plant hybrid mixed with kudzu that spread at an alarming rate. The conquerors were strangled alive in their polos with upturned collars. When the residents of New New Hampshire paddled over, all that they could discern of the remaining bodies were, ironically, articles of Banana Republic khakis.

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Freestate Iron Man Imperial Stout, The Closest I Will Ever Come to Completing an Iron Man Competition, or being Tony Stark

Who doesn’t like the idea of being Iron Man? Being all bad ass in a fictional weaponry suit, or being super good at swimming and exercising and shit. Sounds amazing. Well time to face a hard reality, I will never be able to do those things, and this beer sure isn’t helping matters. I can only assume that Kansas is full of bad ass iron men since they have to put up with depressing flat land scapes, pale women, and I am pretty sure tornado fighting is the official state sport. Let’s see how this imperial stout measures up to shoulder rockets and tattered bike taint.

Rain rain go away, that's what all my haters say, my stouts stay on overload, my ales never evaporate.

Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | 8.40% ABV

So let’s take a minute and talk about how little that Free State is fucking around, namely, not at all. I first noticed this company when Old Backus started flooding the streets like bootleg movies and I wanted a taste of that malty ass. Long story short, Old Backus is amazing and worth seeking out, maybe even a trip to Kansas. So seeing this offering, my Stoutster sense was tingling. The appearance is like a glass of deep coca cola with moderate lacing and lil wispy carbonation. Tap 1 black mana and unleash this will o’ the wisp. There’s a bit of black licorice going on in the nose and an herbal aspect.

This is for those bleak Kansas winters, with a long stretch to suffer through with no college basketball.

The taste isn’t exactly what I seek out from an imperial stout and instead comes across almost like a black IPA. There’s a huge herbal bouquet that is original, just not what I am into. Some people are super into Godspeed! You Black Emperor, but I just don’t get it. This may be crowd pleaser to some people, but I read Highlights and watch Shahs of Sunset, I am too fucking pedestrian for these efforts. It’s like when they enacted the Concordat of Worms and the Holy Roman Empire was flossing so hard, but the Divinity wasn’t on board. Well, I guess the larger part of Prussia is hops and, fuck, this analogy fell apart real quick. There’s a mild chocolate, but the minty herbal hops are like a funky Girltalk mash up.

an IMPERIAL STOUT made by the same people who made OLD BACKUS. Some hard shit is about to go down...right?

The brewery notes flex so hard, “Our Imperial Stout brewed to an Original gravity of 19.5 °P using 10 different types of malt, which combined, weigh 1,465 lbs. That works out to 3.4 lbs per gallon of finished beer or almost 4/10ths of a pound in every glass. The dark malts give a roasty flavor and dark color, caramel malts add sweetness and a full body. Three different hop varieties also add their own complexity (and about 78 IBUs). The bittering hop is Magnum. The early aromatic hops are Northern Brewer. The later aromatic Centennial. The final hop addition is a dry hop with a generous dose of Mt. Hood hops for a fine aroma The Ironman is named for one of our favorite regular customers, Walt Hull, who is a local blacksmith. ”

But that is kinda like boning a chick while listening to your own single. Count how many times they mention hops above and think about how much you enjoy hop presence in stouts and you’ll be able to tell if this beer is for you. It is by no means bad, but with how amazing Old Backus was, I guess I just hoped that Kansas would ball as hard as their NCAA Basketball team. Ball so hard.

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Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro, Finally a Beer That Sounds Like All of My Favorite American Gladiators

OH SNAP SICK 4-20 review BRO, NITROOOO. Anyway. So, here’s a gentle gem from Colorado sent to me from Sean Cloyd, hooking it up hard in the paint. The bottle says pour hard, sit back, and enjoy. I am expecting some crazy aleworks with sparklers and massive carbonation but, it’s a pretty chill affair at first, I mean just look below. It is hardly a picture of rage, the level of rally is sophmoric but fulfilling, like sophmores themselves.

I don't know the science behind it but, I am on board. Magnets, how do they work?

Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Milk / Sweet Stout | 6.00% ABV

So, after all the hubbabaloo about Guiness and their agitating widget, I was curious to see how this bottle would advance the nitro stout world. The result: POUR IT VERY HARD. I am not kidding, it tells you that right on the bottle. No fancy tech, no nanoagitation, or cellular meiosis to discharge nitrogen, just straight hard pours, the Colorado way. So I grabbed a big ass glass, Guiness appropriately enough, and poured it hard as fuck expecting a nice mess on my Left Hand. It hits the glass and just sits there for a moment and then goes into Snorolax cascade mode and evens out to what you see above. It wasn’t the most bad ass Bellagio foam show ever, but it was cool to be able to pour a beer like an asshole, on purpose, with good results.

This stout takes me back to the old days, simpler times when stouts were something you could finish by yourself, and pr0n jpegs took 3 minutes to download.

So this is a Crystal Light thin stout but in a great way, the sweetness from the milk stout doesn’t need some big malty tail to swing around, it is content just being itself. The mouthfeel isn’t quite like a nitrotap but, come on, did you really expect some straight up UK pub foamdome experience? It isn’t disappointing, I guess just put on some Oasis first to set the mood. The taste is a bit watery and you think you got tricked into a Weight Watchers 3 Points Porter but then the milkiness of the mouthfeel gives a gentle coating and the roasty nutiness sets in. And like that man who touched your thighs in the grocery store, it is gone as quickly as that, without a trace or witness to testify on your behalf.

You too can finish 4 to 5 of these in one night and no one will be the wiser. Believe in your dreams.

The low carbonation makes this exceptionally refreshing (particularly for a stout) and highly drinkable. At 6% you can session these while watching your football matches, Manchester v. Chelsea, etc. You get the point. UK shit. Very enjoyable, but not a show stopper. If you aren’t jaded by barrel aged imperial everything, you’ll still enjoy this gentle daffodil.

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Three Floyds/Struise/Mikkeller/Surly Baller Stout, This Stout is Blended too Hard to be Ballin on a Budget

Oh shit, the Voltron of baller ass beers,l a blend of: Black Albert, Darkness, Dark Lord, and Beer Geek Brunch. I will let you ruminate on the potential for a moment. Alright. Let’s get this show on the road.

This beer -BALs so hard, but first barrels gotta find me.

Three Floyds Baller Stout, Russian Imperial Stout, 13.8% abv

A: It has a bit of a wateriness to the pour that doesn’t really blow me away given the all start lineup of dark potations blended. The Darklord alone should be enough to consume the world, but it isn’t necessarily bad as a result. For the composition of those 4 beasts to create something with the coating of gentle Czar Jack, the result is anomalous. The carbonation is fantastic and clings to the glass with Ellis Island desperation. The color of the foam is dead on Dockers’ khakis, my favorite Mervyn’s foam selection.

WAIT. Darkness. Dark Lord, Black Albert. Beer Geek Brunch? I see what you did thar.

S: The smell has a nice coffee roast with a bit of an oakiness popping in here and there, however, the wheelies are popped by the chocolate and sweetness. I can only assume that Darklord and Darkness teamed up to whip the other two rapscallions into shape. The brownie batter smell lingers until a nice espresso element sutures the wound and the smell is done. Pretty impressive really, don’t know what haters hate.

T: The sweetness has a great interplay with the coffee element and the result is a bitter upfront port character that is not altogether chocolate, but not just roasted malts either. It is funny how each beer contributed a different element to the final product, there’s the obvious sweetness from the Darklord that is faint, a nice coffee from Beer Geek Brunch, some roasted malts from Darkness, and a nice charred oakiness from Black Albert. No falacy by composition here, just a solid stout, BALLER EVEN.

Combining these beers has showed me something that I knew about myself all along. Just like Uncel Dolan.

M: The mouthfeel is surprisingly light given the composition of the 4 knuckleheads involved. Notwithstanding, I feel that it is a more original product as a result. I don’t enjoy this more than any one of the parts involved, but it’s kinda like a janky ass Voltron. It might even be Go-Bot status. But even the sorriest Transformer like Nightscream or Cosmos is still a Transformer, that’s pretty bad ass.

D: The individual beers involved, Black Albert excepted, aren’t exceptionally drinkable, but strangely, this beer is splishy splashy and drinkable. The coating isn’t intense and as a result the synthetic oil burns cooler. I don’t know who was submarining the efforts to make this thinner and easier to drink but, I would say that this is the greatest aspect of the synergy between the elements. I don’t know that I will put this in my water bottle before I get into some sick ass MMA, but it’s pretty breezy and enjoyable for a gigantic stout. This beer has me feeling all like a Newport Slims advertisement up in this mix.

RISE MY BARREL AGED ARMY.

Narrative: Metroplex was a shitty Transformer and he knew it. Sure, Transformed he was a bad ass robot that would make Gundam quiver. But he “disguised” himself as an entire city block. The rest of the Decepticons just kinda sighed robot sighs and shrugged their massive robotic shoulders when Metroplex would dissassemble himself into a Jiffylube, Chick-Fil-A, Planned Parenthood, and Ju Jitsu Studio. “Starscream, please can you just, tell him it is painfully obvious, no one is fooled, literally not even the blind Transformer Brailzor is fooled by his transformation.” Deep down Metroplex had feelings too. He knew that the disguise was shitty and inoperable. The Planned Parenthood was always closed and the Ju Jitsu studio just had a guy who watched a ton of Affliction tapes but, deep down he had spirit. The elements that composted his false city were bad ass in their own right, even if assembled it was an underwhelming display of power. “So then Megatron was all like Metroplex? More like METROSEX! Oh, oh, didn’t see you standing there Metro, uh, we were just-” Metroplex ran to the lower chambers of the elaborate robot facility and buried his face in his iridium pillow. “THEY DON’T GET YOU! NO ONE GETS YOU!” he cried his autotuned sobs into his comforter while his My Chemical Robomance poster looked on ruefully.

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Hill Farmstead Damon, DAMON…Matt….Day…mon….

Ok, so not to thoroughly beat this equine subject, but I love this brewery. They could bottle 4Loko with Hershey’s syrup in it and call it an imperial stout and I would still come running, Fedex account in hand. This beer is no exception. Let’s see what happen when the demigods in Vermont put that midas touch to one of my favorite styles: Huge Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. A new challenger appears…

This takes the prize as the most ridiculous bottle to open, dethroning that BA Shipwreck Porter. Dem wax. It had 5 coats like Lithuanian teenager sold into sex trafficking. Too soon.

Hill Farmstead Damon, Imperial Stout 10.5% abv

A: This looks beautiful like a fresh slab of obsidian that those rakish Hawaiians just harvested for kitschy jewelry creation. Nice deep black with roast mocha foam that is understated, yet classy, like a La Coste thong. The head takes a full 30 seconds to realize that it needs to get its shit together and finally rises to the surface reluctantly. The lacing looks incredible like that snarky liberal arts girl whose work you didn’t care much for but the substance lingered on. You know, her.

Matt....Day...Mon....Daymon.....MATT....Day....

S: The smell is like fresh brownie batter whipped up with grampa’s hooch. The smell has the note of fresh Tollhouse cookies, with a bittersweet toffee note. The whole smell reminds me of a See’s Candy Toffee Sucker. God damn, anthropomorphism makes me want to give this beer a big old smooch. Do you remember in Melrose Place where there was always a fire or amnesia or some shit always going down? Well this has that sweet and simple feel but with a ton of other elements in play and it is fucking excellent like a 50/50 lipslide into a fakie manual.

T: The taste is like licking the bowl from some sweet nana’s cookies, and nana has residual drinking problems from the great war. Also, the malts impart this subtle roastiness that nudge at you like that little voice that tells you it’s ok to drink because it is Flag Day. There’s this final finish where bourbon shows up in a flourish with confetti and cocoa coronation fanfare. The taste is like that Master P video Make Em Say Uhh, where there’s a great robust profile and cast of interesting events that you want to ruminate on its efficacy.

This is officially Moar Certified.

M: The mouthfeel just gets all carnival and sticky real quick. Someone went and scooped up some of the La Brea tar pits, jumped into Kentucky for some fine bourbon, hopped up to Pennsylvania for that aforementioned chocolate. The mouthfeel doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s like a friend who stays, makes out with a chick on your couch and when you’re just about to get mad, BOOM, sheets folded and he’s gone. The shamiest of walks.

The proud lineage continues in this beer.

D: This is absurdly drinkable. It is outrageous in the classic sense of the word, causing outrage. I look at my bank account, then the trade forums, then my cellar, ad infinitum and it makes me staunchly aware of my needledick that I am swinging in the beer trade world for this amazing potation. I just want to post up with these all day long. This reminds me of a gentle version of BB Plead the Fifth, with hand holding and it pops the door locks for you. Now slap it on my ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass ass, and make that mother fucker Damontime.

This beer blows my mind. Damonception.

Narrative: Damon looked balefully upon his colleagues poised in a tight circle. Lunches on the quad never seemed so long he was ousted from the magic: The Gathering society. Those 43 minutes ticked by with a painful awareness of the liches that were being summoned, the artifacts utilized, and don’t even get Damon started on the sheer potential for enchanted creatures. “Hey Damon” a pigeontoed youth with a screen print shirt reading “5 Dollar Footlong” with a tasteful arrow pointing down approached Damon. “Hey so uh, some of us other guys were gonna start up a Yu-Gi-Oh league an-” “GOD DAMNIT Clarence! What do I look like? A CHILD. You dont have to start some RC COLA LEAGUE to supplicate my self esteem!” Clarence looked to the ground and sheepishly retreated, clutching his deck ruefully. Damon had a heart of darkness and several booster packs worth of rares. However, deep down there was a loving, entreating spirit who could guide others into something amazing. Damon walked over to the circle of disapproving glances and looked down at the match in progress. “Royal Assassin in a blue deck? Good luck with that,” Damon quipped as he dropped a Timewalk into the circle and the masses jubilantly cried out at the sight of a rare and banned card from earlier days. One headgeared, poxfaced individual placed a hand on Damon’s shoulder “Heysh Daymonsh, you’re and shalright guy, you know thasht?” he said, spitting on Damon’s Type O Negative shirt. Damon nodded and all was right again, he was free to summon his loving darkness upon the masses.

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Deschutes The Abyss Imperial Stout, Total Abyss of the Heart

Every time this beer comes out, I shrug it off as a “widely available” top 100 stout and act like I dont want it. Then I can’t get it and the butt hurt ensues. Anyway, I landed this the old fashioned way from Sunset Beer in Echo Park and figured now is as good a time as ever to start giving sick props to this gem that most people have already had their way with.

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I opened this at my housewarming party when I bought a house and pretty much everyone wanted nothing to do with it. My house was all the warmer with this potation lighting up my chest like E.T.

Deschutes The Abyss, light pilsner, PSYCHE, Imperial Stout, 11% abv

A: This looks like an Exxon valdez rampage. Pure black with shimmering darkness like the gulf of mexico. Huge khaki carbonation with sticky lacing. If you spill this on your clothes, just throw them out. No middle carbonation, at least not much that I can see. It reminds me of those villains from Pirates of Dark Water, oh well, Google it I guess, my jokes aren’t for everyone, you gotta earn that shit.

Ever since I started drinking Abyss, I never win because these stouts make you fat as fuck

S: There is a huge chocolate profile, not similar to most stouts, it registers sweeter more of a syrupy bitterness like those bags of syrup you add to soda machines but with a ton of awesome coffee balance. As a side note, I feel like Deschutes sometimes ends up with too much sugar attenuation and they defy the status quo here with this chocolate syrupy note that remains balanced.

T: Very sweet on the first taste that coats the bitter zones with an overwhelming hop presence that subsides into a tarpit of gooey coffee notes. The heat is there but the alcohol is overridden by almost distracting sweet notes. It is reminiscent of if you subjected a normal stout to a 120 min boil. It just feels like stout concentrate in a good way.

I only got a single bottle of Abyss this year and I was all like this as a result.

M: I can’t overstate this enough, it coats harder than a single guy at 1:45 a.m. at a club. Chocolate robitussin with teeth staining presence. It will linger with you, whether you want it to or not.

D: I don’t know what crazy cold conditions or type of Siberian misery that I would have to endure to put away several bottles of this away. Perhaps the people in Bend Oregon have a tough gulag life that I can’t comprehend from my Mediterranean climate throne but one 22 oz bottle of this is plenty, anyone who “wishes” for another bomber seems questionable, but understandable.

Making a beer this delicious and alcoholic just seems like a dangerous idea.

Narrative: “So this is how product liability lawsuits happen,” Warren Dolce thought as the maroon viscous liquid glugged out of the cocoa butter vat and all over the factory floor. “Of all the things to skimp on, I don’t think that the pressure control valve and the blow off valve were proper,” he reflected “at least not for the chocolate refining tank.” Thousands of wanting Cadburry eggs would remain wanting frosting yokes, in endosperm stasis. The chocolate crude gurgled up to his jaw line and Warren reflected, “perhaps the basement lock was not the way to cut costs either, here I am, 3 floors down, about to endure the prophetic Death By Chocolate, to be honest, I kinda always knew that it would end this way.” He exhaled into the mucilaginous depths watching the bubbles struggle to the surface. “A sweet death, to be sure, but who will finish my screen pl-”

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Minnesota Town Hall, Czar Jack, Just Straight Up Czar Jacking It

This beer is released once a year and only 80 growlers are filled. OH SHIT BRAGGING SESSION COMMENCES. Just kidding, this is another top 100 beer that took me a long time to land and it was well worth it.

People be all like “What you finna do with all that stout, all that stout up in that growl(er)”

DO WHAT I ALWAYS DO, TAKE THIS SHIT TO THE DANGER ZONE.

Nobody reads shit on Saturdays anyway.

If Czar Jack was stuck on a roof, would you help Czar Jack off?

Minnesota Town Hall, Czar Jack, Russian Imperial Stout, 9.3% abv

A: The carbonation just cascades in tiny clusters clinging to the center and edges of the glass like that Ewok village when it is night time, little constellations of potential drunk and disorderly charges, a mocha head of “these cuffs are too tight.”

S: Just wow, the smell is like fresh baked fudge, a light boozy aroma like an aunt who has a secret to tell, nice nutty almond dryness and of course a burnt coffee waft closes the deal. Your pants are off and the hotel bill will reflect the shame of your actions, namely drinking an entire growler.

You crack a 64oz growler of this and shit just goes bananas. B A N A N A N A N A N A N A S. That's how you spell bananas.

T: The coffee taste with mild acidity is the first thing that rolls up with an insouciant swagger oh and he brought two hoes with him, bourbon and dutch chocolate. The taste applies a single Sherman Williams coat and then just goes on its merry way, smashing in tastebuds and giving palate HJs on the way down.

M: The mouthfeel is amongst the lightest that I have ever encountered in the world class stout category. It is almost like an imperial porter in how clean and effortlessly this beer works your tongue over. It coats nicely but doesn’t overstay its welcome. This beer is down for a chocolate one night stand and then peaces out, but makes the bed first. I am ok with that.

There was so much hype surrounding this beer I was a skeptical hippo but, well here we are and I am still riding this brewery's jock so hard.

D: This is incredibly drinkable and dangerous for a beer at this ABV level. It doesn’t get all caught up with emotional coffee baggage, or talk about its daddy chocolate issues. This shit is just down to bang your palate and just be a super chill ryde or die stout. I want more of it, but I heard about their new procedure for landing Czar jack and it sounds fucking hellish lotteries, local rewards, club cards and shit. So this may be the final growler that I enjoy of this elusive potation. BUT THEN AGAIN MAYBE SHE WEEEIIILLLLL.

At first I was excited for 2 liters of this beer, then I was like-

Narrative: Chancellor Billingsley was a charitable man, but in a strange, offputting manner. He has a zest for philanthropy, but in what amounted to a purely hateful manner. “Regis, please assemble the equipage of the 14 stallion carriage, I would like to donate sums to the mealymouthed masses.” He strode sternly to the awaiting carriage and sat sumptuously upon the Gala Coupe` with a large sack of heavy Spanish doubloons. “Now bring the trot to an idle speed-” he said as he cocked his arm back towards the throngs of commoners descending upon his carriage. “AND HERE IS YOUR MONTH’S RENT!” he called as a cast a weighty solid gold coin cascading directly to the temple of an alms seeker with her threadbare hands outstretched. “You see Regis, without the loss of consciousness, they would never embrace the blessing I am bestowing upon them, it takes a complete debilitating blow to show them the honor and glory of my fugue.” One child was seen both simultaneously crying and cheering with a bruised imprint of Queen Isabella knocked deeply into his epidermis.

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Big Sky Brewing Company, Ivan the Terrible, Large Scale Colonization of Siberia and this Domepiece

I had wanted to track this beer down ever since I first started trading but I always got led off the path of Terribleness. Anyway, after I tried Old Bluehair I decided that people in Montana knew what the fuck that they were doing and sought out this gem. Cool story Hansel.

Ivan the Nuanced Coffeemonster is more apt, but less likely to unify modern Russia.

Big Sky Brewing Company, Ivan the Terrible, Russian Imperial Stout (duh) 10% abv

A: This beer has a nice slick cola look to it, a bit off the beaten path, like RC Cola. Nice carbonation, I mean, look above, more head than a goiter survivors support group.

This beer is strange, but ultimately very likeable. You root for it deep down, you want the chocolate to prevail.

S: The smell has all the old tricks you’d expect, cocoa, nice very understated booziness, and a dry roast coffee that has some dryness. Brownie batter, nom’s abound.

T: The taste expounds on the coffee and chocolate interplay and it’s like what an alcoholic baker would indulge himself with, all sticky with sweetness balanced by the pound of flesh of coffee presented. There’s a candy toffee note that carries this to more memorable levels. PROTIP: I drank a glass that was left out all night and IT WAS EVEN BETTER. Something about this beer being oxidized makes it even better. I dont know why, but if you are that decadent that you can waste expensive rare beers on science experiments, do that shit and stop bragging about it.

At first this beer seems like a bad decision, but it gets way better. Unlike this shitty tattoo.

M: This is where this beer is lacking. It almost feels like an imperial porter in the way the light permeates it easily and the coating is like the unsatisfactory job of some lazy ass Home Depot parking lot warriors. I dont want to suggest the malt bill should be boosted because then it would be a sticky mess, ho hum. First World Beer problems. Tsingtao drinkers dont know the shit that I go through. FEEL ME.

D: This is a mid-ranger in the drinkability section because the ABV will getcha, and the thin profile makes you want more so it balances out. You get your kid a car, but then dont pay for the first year of Community College. The world is right again. I don’t want more than a bottle of this, if that is considered restraint then Epicurus your ass on out of here, Stoics.

The epic debate. Do I want more darkness for a more substantial mouthfeel. Holy mixed metaphors, this discussion is going off the rai-

Narrative: Ivan looked down from his newspaper and shook his head in frustration, “THEY WONT USE THE GOD DAMN PORT I BUILT THEM AT NARVA!” His chancellor shook silently at the rage that he knew was forthcoming. Baltic goods kept pouring in, Toffee, Chocolate, Coffee: The Russians were gourmands despite being within perpetual starvation during the 16th century. “What must I do? Fine, if they wish to continue to oppose my chocolate blockades, I am just going to have to raze Kazan to the ground. THEIR IMPETUOUS NATURE MUST BE QUELLED.” Deep down Ivan was conflicted, he had a severe sweet tooth that he attempted to suppress, and a deep alcoholic nature that remained in constant remission. How ironic that he would die a peaceful death, the chocolate master of war passing away while dreaming of sweet toffee, passing his pawn with grave severity.