Avery has been producing craft beers in the beer mecca that is Boulder, Colorado since 1993 and has done nothing but increased production ever since. Churchkey in Washington, DC held a tap-takeover for the craft brewery, and I took advantage of the opportunity. Among a ton of great beers, three different takes on the brewery’s imperial stout were available, and became the focus of Week 48.
Mephistophele’s Imperial Stout is “the crafty shape shifter, the second fallen angel,” according to Avery’s website, “amazingly complex, coal black, velvety and liqueurish, this demon has a bouquet of vine-ripened grapes, anise and chocolate covered cherries with flavors of rum-soaked caramelized dark fruits and a double espresso finish. IBUs 107.” Let’s see what I think
First up was a side by side pairing of the 2010 (brewed 10/2/10, 16% ABV) and 2011 (brewed 11/12/11 15.1% ABV) vintages.
|This had a way better head than 2011, brown pour with small lacing and good retention.|
|Balanced aroma. Booze, chocolate, coffee. The coffee is really the focal point, which surprises me considering the age.|
|The taste is a continuation of the smell. Just a ton of coffee on the backend. Chocolate beforehand and booze. So much coffee, how did they manage to keep it fresh?|
|Heavy body, creamy, dry finish, and a bit boozy.|
|I really enjoyed this a lot more than the fresh 2011 vintage. Very tasty.|
4.43 / 5 A
|Black pour with less head than the 2010. Head is brown and is with minimal lacing.|
|Boozy, nearly medicinal smell. Chocolate and not a lot of coffee. Very sweet, bordering on strange, smell. Amazed at the difference a year does to the aroma.|
|Ton of booze on the taste, way too much. The coffee on the finish tries to balance it out, but it falls short. The chocolate and balance needs some time to develop.|
|Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy and full of alcohol.|
|Not as good as 2010. To unbalanced and all over the place. I will say, however, that for 16% ABV it wasn't bad.|
I’ll keep the overall review as the fresh vintage, as that is how the brewery released the beer. However, I highly recommend aging this monster.
3.45 / 5 B-
2011 is on the left, 2010 on the right. 2010 was poured a few minutes before the 2011.
The third version is a special, only brewed once in 2010, Mephistopheles with “a generous amount of coffee added,” called Meph-Addict (15.5% ABV).
|Dark pour with a huge brown head. Lacing and retention are well above average.|
|Wow is this a beer of a cup of coffee? Chocolate, and a lack of booze, mixes with the coffee to make a phenomenal smell. Really amazed how little alcohol I get on this.|
|Returns to the Mephistopheles taste I've become used to. Boozy and chocolatey, but this has coffee on steroids. I love the boost of roastiness this gets. Being a year old probably helps the beer as the chocolate and booze have become more mellowed, allowing the coffee to come to the forefront.|
|Heavy body, creamy on the palate, dry finish, less boozy than I expected. Very drinkable.|
|Delicious, best of the night.|
4.6 / 5 A+
A: Very interesting pour. Deep brown with hints of ruby on the edges. An extremely creamy khaki colored head rises up and lasts forever. Just a ton of lacing down the side of the glass. The head is very stubborn, it won’t go away! 4.5
S: Very tart, a ton of dark fruits and cherries/raspberries. Some booze is coming through as well as a nice maltiness. 4
T: Wow the taste is all about the booze and the tartness. A lot of dark fruits create the base for this, and is complimented by a slight funkiness, and some notes from the barrel. Not getting a lot of, but surely some, Zinfandel. 4.5
MF: Medium to heavy body for an American Wild Ale, carbonated very well, and the notes of alcohol are not overbearing. 4
O: I very much enjoy the taste, so I think it’s pretty darn drinkable. Love the mix of tartness, booze, and dark fruits. Becoming a huge fan of the Avery sour series. 4.5
4.35 / 5 A