Friday, July 1, 2016

Zinneke Belgian Style Stout (review)

Beer Review #135

I've been on a bit of an IPA kick recently, so since I had the time, and no place to drive, i thought I'd help myself to a duo of big stouts. For the second I'm at long last returning to Smuttynose Brewing Company's "big beer series" for a sip of their Zinneke Belgian Style Stout. I have previously reviewed Gravitation (review #82), Rocky Road (review #76) and Scotch Ale (review #75) from the same series.

Named in honor of the doggy denizens of Brussels, this hybrid beer is a mix of what we love best in a big, roasty stout, but fermented with a Belgian yeast, which brings out a beautiful, fruity nose.

This relatively new sub-style combines Belgian, American and English influences to create a beer whose total is more than equal to the sum of its parts. Here’s how Zinneke breaks down and adds back up. Start with a strong stout. This is the Big Beer Series after all… then “Belgianize” it by altering the grain bill and fermenting the wort with a Trappist yeast strain. We backed off the heavy caramel and roasted malts to create a more complimentary flavor profile for the yeast, which contributes fruity esters and a light body. These parts combine to create a beer with dark color and light body with prevalent flavors of dark fruits, vanilla and toffee, while subtle chocolate flavors appear in the finish.

That's a whole lot of words to describe what amounts to a really good beer. As a stout, Zinneke has the coffee thing going on, but it also has a fruitiness about it. But where typically a brewer might add raspberry to accomplish this, Smuttynose achieves it with those legendary Belgian yeast strains, which do remarkably complex things to a brew.

This dark brown beer with an almond foam crown, smells less dark, than it actually tastes. Coffee wraps around the back end while you swallow, but the dominate trait of the taste reminds me of those fruit filled chocolate candies - the ones in the variety boxes you get around the holidays that you wish were filled with nuts instead - except in this instance the fruity character is compelling rather than offensive. Cherry, plum, raisin, and even prune (in a good way) are present.- along with some vanilla and caramel.

8.4%ABV, and a very tasty beer..

Musical Pairing: Resurrection by Halford

Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
I-86 Beer Trail
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)
River Rat Brew Trail (Central Pa)

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