Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Yeti & Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

This is going to be a twofer blog entry. On one hand we have one of the most highly rated stouts in the world and on the other we have the same beer only this one has been aged on oak. This is a big day for me because this will mark the 999th and 1000th beer that will be added to my Master Beer List.

Stats: Brewery – Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, CO
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 9.5%
IBUs – 75
Serving Type – 22 oz. (bomber) bottle

I went over the history of Great Divide when I talked about their Hercules Double IPA. The Regular Yeti (RY) is a traditional imperial stout with a lot of alcohol and high hop bitterness. The Oak Aged Yeti (OAY) is brewed in the same batch as the RY, but is then aged on a blend of French and toasted oak chips. I’ve never had either beer because I wanted to have them side by side to better see what the affects of the oak chips would be without the handicap of a biased pallet.

Glass – RY is in the Rogue Yellow Snow pint glass. OAY is in the “Beer” pint glass.

Aroma – The RY has a hint of vanilla, caramel, and alcohol. There is also some citrusy hop aroma. Initially, I couldn’t detect any of the roastyness you would expect from a stout, but as it warmed up it started to come out. The OAY seemed to be a more “muted” version of the RY. There was, however, a more predominate vanilla aroma. The rest was there (caramel, alcohol, hops) but harder to detect. The other exception was the roastyness which never showed up.

Appearance – Both are virtually identical with black oil like colors and big frothy dark tan crowns. The crowns dissipate slowly leaving big sticky sheets on the sides of the glasses.

Flavor – The RY starts off sweet with just a hint of roasted barley. There is a hint of vanilla that runs throughout. There is a citrusy hop resin flavor in the middle and sides of my tongue with the bitterness coming out on the sides. It finishes with a hint of burnt malt that is quickly replaced by the taste of bitter hops then fades into a lingering alcohol taste. The OAY seems once again to be a milder and less complex version of the original. I can easily pick out vanilla, a little oak, and what seems to be smoke. There is the same level of sweetness, but much less hop bitterness. Unlike the RY the taste doesn’t change as it moves from my mouth to my throat, and the finish is relatively very clean.

Mouthfeel – The body of these beers are similar, but the OAY does seem to be just slightly lighter. The RY finishes dry with a little alcohol warming. They are both very lightly carbonated and feel “wet” in my mouth.

Final Thoughts – The new tag line for this beer should read “The stout for people who don’t like stouts.” When I think of stouts I thing of coffee and burnt flavors, but these beers had virtually none of that. If you are a fan of stouts you might be a little disappointed, but I found these to be quite a pleasant surprise. I’m glad I was able to do a side-by-side tasting, but I doubt I will ever do that again with these beers. First of all, two pints of 9.5% beer is definitely enough to get my buzz on and make it hard to concentrate on writing this review. Second of all, drinking the RY was fine at first, as was the OAY, but when I then went back to the RY it was almost overwhelming. I mentioned a few times how the OAY was much milder than the RY, and switching back and forth really highlighted the aggressiveness of the RY. I don’t want to infer that the OAY wasn’t a good beer, because it was. It was just a much more mellow drink, great for those who want an easy drinking mildly sweet full bodied beer.


Blogger ChuckSuede said...

I'm saving my sawbucks for the Sasquatch Imperial Porter. It tast like the inside of a Fake Leg.

7:36 PM  
Blogger ChuckSuede said...

Ben....It's been over a month. I'm on pins and those other pointy sharp things for a new beer.

10:24 PM  

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