Monday, December 15, 2014

On the 7th Day of Xmas: Malted Musings Tackles Two Biggies

As a collaboration with Beer411, I'm proud to present my entry into the "12 Beers of Christmas" ! To help celebrate the holiday season, I decided to take a look a two beers: one focused on hops, one on malt. Despite the style differences, both beers have been made for the winter season.

Photo credit: @Malted_Musings
First up is a beer from a new CT brewery: Charter Oak Brewing Company. Their "Lights Out Stout" smells deeply of heavy malting along with faint caramel and bittersweet chocolate, resembling super dark mahogany in the glass. At first sip this stout has a smooth initial taste with an under-bite of dark chocolate. The flavor profile quickly builds with a smooth crescendo to a high note of slight bitter hopping that is quickly balanced out with dense, semi-sweet dark chocolate bitters. The flavor is ushered out with exceptionally smooth, robust coffee and chocolate notes that slowly, serenely wind down into a heavy malting that sits, slightly bitter, on the back of the palate. This is a large beer, but with no flavor spikes to ruin the smooth transition from potent bitter hops to deep, rich, heavy malting. The malts and chocolate flavor is not overwhelming, and yet manages to sit warmly on the palate and warm you up for minutes after you finish your sip. A beer that can easily stand toe-to-toe with other stouts that are twice as expensive, this is a must buy for those cold winter nights. I've been super impressed with Charter Oak Brewing, and they keep managing to astound me with every one of their beers I try.

Photo credit: @Malted_Musings
For the next beer I went with a brew from one of my favorite breweries, Southern Tier Brewing Company (a New York based brewery). This is their seasonal beer that focuses more on hopping than malting. The Krampus pours out a rich gold amber, smelling mildly of floral/piney hopping. At first sip I get bright, high hop notes that smoothly develop into a mid-high piney tone. The taste then fades gradually into a high and smooth hoppy taste that slowly winds down into a pleasant wheat malty taste. This hop-kissed malty note lingers on the palate with the dull piney notes of the sharp hops. This is a medium-bodied beer with a fairly high AbV. Highly hoppy notes develop warmth and texture, which sit smoothly on the palate. Overall this is a good beer for those brisk winter days, as the piney notes really cut through and get you in the mood for the cold winter weather. Though personally I prefer more heavy malting in a winter beer, Southern Tier has made a rich and flavorful beer that remains well-balanced and still leaves you feeling warmed up. 
All in all the Charter Oak Lights Out Stout is a wonderful beer for the stout/porter fan in your life and I feel may be generally a little more accessible. The Krampus is a beer that truly takes after its namesake and is unabashedly sharp, but altogether warming despite the high piney hopping. Therefore, the Krampus would work well as a gift for an IPA fan to expand their universe a bit without sacrificing high hoppy notes. I want to thank Beer 411 for this collaboration once again, and remind all of you to also follow me on TwitterFacebook, and G+
Finally, to end, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to everyone! 

#Beer411 #12BeersOfXmas

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