Tasting: December 15, 2012
Style: Imperial Stout
Black Xantus are predominantly black hummingbirds exclusively found in Baja California. There have been “one-off” sighting in southern California and even into British Columbia. I know it’s purely coincidental, but I had a rare bird sighting today that nearly had me driving off the road. On a rural road near the border of Boonton Township and Kinnelon – just on the side of the road, I spied a group of wild turkeys — not unusual. But amongst the muted brown birds was an iridescent blue and green peacock wandering with the flock. I had to turn my car around just to see if I could get a picture – but the rafter had wandered further into the woods. Since peacocks are indigenous to Asia and warmer climates, I have to assume that it was an escapee. that hooked up with a new posse. I wonder what the turkeys thought?
This imperial stout is an annual release from Nectar Ales (formerly owned by Firestone Walker). In years past, this stout was aged in bourbon barrels as well as wine barrels from the Firestone Union. This year’s label other than images of barrels doesn’t mention barrel aging and their website speaks only of the 2011 release. Firestone Walker sold Nectar Ale brand to Total Beverage Solution in July of this year, so I’ll assume this beer was aging in a Firestone Walker barrel while the transaction was going down.
I’ve been sipping on this for awhile and I have to say that I’m quite impressed. It isn’t the “beat you over the head” flavors – it’s mellow and complex. Your taste buds are a swirl of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak all over a creamy mouthfeel and subtle booziness (11% ABV). Sweetness and bitterness are in equal balance. Definitely a barrel influence here. I keep inching my score up and right now at three-quarters through the bomber-sized bottle, I’m at 93 points. It’s unknown what new ownership will do to this beer in the future – so I suggest getting one of these right away.