74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with Rich in Sydney, Australia.
Pours a surprisingly light colour—still very deep brown, but not the arch darkness I expect for an impy stout. Head is voluminous and very fast-growing, forming a fine mesh that leaves messy lace and fine bubbling film. Body is fairly weighty, but not extreme, especially for an 11% beer. It looks decent, but a little washed out for the style.
Nose is pretty solid. Toasty, slightly fragrant dark malt, laced with a surprisingly potent hop presence, that almost gives it the aroma of an IBA. I get some rounded tropical fruits like pineapple or papaya, which really lift the aroma from what should be a deep blackness. I mean, I like it, but it doesn't smell like an imperial stout.
Taste is also astonishingly light. A round, empty fragrant fruitiness provides a kind of ephemeral body to the beer. There's a touch of dry ash towards the back, reminding you that it's dark, but otherwise it's quite light and leavened, with a feather-light touch in the finish that only vaguely suggests bitterness or roast. It's remarkable balanced though, and there is almost no hint at all of 8% ABV. The fact that this actually weighs in at 11% ABV is nothing short of astonishing—to the point that I'm actually skeptical about their claim.
Feel is very light. It helps the drinkability, but it's surprisingly empty for a beer of this strength.
Overall, I mean, I like it. It's astonishingly light and drinkable for its weight, but I'm not sure I want such an easy-to-drink Imperial Stout. This is the sort of beer that should have depth and complexity to savour, and it can afford to be challenging in a way that forces you to take it slowly. This one makes you feel like you could quaff it by the pint—that's nothing short of remarkable, frankly, but I prefer my Imperial Stouts to make that more of a challenge.