Monday, November 18, 2013

Big Wood Morning Wood Coffee Stout

Here's the thing about samples: sometimes they come in unidentified packages. While that is factual, as this evidence bears the truth, it does not happen very often. I have in the past received samples of products that have not yet been released to the public that were not cast in their perfect plumage, but this is the first time I was given a label-less sample of a beer that's already on the market. Which makes me wonder how old the can is…which makes me wish there was a born-on dat…wait, there is…11/26/12. Whoa. Not so fresh. I should have checked that earlier. I suspect this was given to the distributor for samples before the labels were designed and they took their sweet time handing them out. (I, in turn, took my sweet time opening it.)

No matter, let's drink this before I have to throw it a birthday party…

Morning Wood Coffee Stout, Big Wood Brewery, White Bear Lake, MN. It may not have a label, but I do have sell sheets, and am including images from them, free of commentary. 5.5% Alc/Vol. 35 IBU.

This was the brewery's first beer released, and won them some awards at local festivals before they ever had a commercial product ready for the public.

Cast in solid black, with a dense, rocky tanned head, actively carbonated, leaving lace.

Smells like coffee and cream. At nearly a year old (I received this can months ago, but no where close to the canning date.), it feels like some of the coffee aromatics have fallen off, so I can't fault this for not being bolder. Sweet and…here I want to say "creamy", again, I've got a good hunch there's oatmeal in this (checked the info, yes). Cocoa coming through. Very likable.

In the taste, it's right at the front, gets in there good, then fades back. Substantial dark malt body, superbly drinkable, fine tasting'. Coffee and chocolate jump back on board with each subsequent sipping, flavor lasts long on the palate, a very mellow, easily appreciated stout.

I can't stop finding fault with the marketing and copywriting efforts, no matter how hard I try. "Morning Wood….adds hints of oatmeal and malt…" I hope you're not hinting at malt. What a shame of a stout that would have been.

No, this is nice. And I'm trapped, unable to compare it, without a fresh sample to consider how coffee-forward this should be.

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