Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Batton down the hatches, matey!

Brewery: Mission Brewery
Location: San Diego, CA
Name: Dark Seas
Type: Russian imperial stout
ABV: 9.8%
Purchased from: Whole Foods, Richmond, VA
Price: $7 or $8, can't recall.

There are dark beers. And then there are dark beers. This was my first encounter with Dark Seas and Mission Brewery for that matter. I couldn't pass it up as it had 5 of my most favoritest things on the label: Skull, lightning, awesome old ship, the word "imperial," and 9+% ABV. Like a moth to a flame, my hand was wrapping around this beast before I knew what was going on. I knew that once I popped the cap off of this beer I should be in for a hell of a time. As dark as the seas it boasts, Dark Seas storms and swells angrily which produces a MASSIVE milk chocolate colored head. I mean, the head was a good 2 fingers thick! Could it be attributed my an aggressive pour? Maybe...maybe not. As the foamy head de-foamed it graciously gave up the bouquet it was so staunchly protecting. Let us talk a bit about scent striation. The odoriferous strata Dark Seas provides you is a roller coaster of ballsy beer aromas. Bittersweet dark chocolate and toasted malt take the quick lead. Behind them is something that smells like the ghost of vanilla extract and a woodsy forest. A slight hint of licorice and booze bring up the rear. As I brought my glass to my lips and prepared to drink I braced myself for impact as I expected a thick bodied beer. Dark Seas did not disappoint in that regard. Thick, borderline syrupy, sumptuously velvety, and definitely chewy this RIS takes no prisoners and presumes you're wearing a life preserver. I couldn't help but to imagine the beer as being a miniature ghastly pirate swinging on a rope, a blade clenched in his teeth, ready to plunder my flavor receptors. Bold malt is the name of the game. Said malt props a woody and chocolate flavored miasma (and I mean miasma is the foreboding dread sense). Through lips laced with sticky malt and a healthy amount of alcohol, vanilla makes its way to the dance floor. The aftertaste is almost too sweet but is cut precisely with an unapologetic smokiness. And my breath smells like I just had a chocolate coffee. But it's not gross and bitter like if I had just consumed chocolate coffee. Nay. This is like the best parts of a chocolate coffee aftertaste...with booze added! Some might say this is a touch too sweet or the malt is too toasty and less roasty. To them I say, you've got your opinion and I respectfully ignore it. Pace yourself with Dark Seas. Do not dive blindly here and do utilize the buddy system if you have to. But savor this. Let it storm across your palate wreaking flavor havoc.

In Soviet Russia, imperial's stout you.

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