Tasting: November 30, 2011
Style: Pilsner (Imperial)
The word â€œimperialâ€ is tossed around pretty loosely in the brewing world. I mention in my glossary that the word â€œimperialâ€ was first applied to English stouts as an indication that it was brewed for and exported to the royal courts of Russia â€“ hence the use of the word â€œimperialâ€. These stouts were made with a higher alcohol by volume to improve â€œshelf lifeâ€ and to also keep the stout from easily freezing during transport. Today, â€œimperialâ€ means a beer that is brewed using multiple amounts of the base ingredients â€“ malt and hops. If it isnâ€™t called imperial — youâ€™ll see terms like Double or Triple used as well. Iâ€™ve seen all of these phrases tied to stouts, India Pale Ales (IPAs) and Bocks â€“ but calling a pilsner an imperial pilsner is a new one on me. Pilsner is a type of lager and its trademark flavor is of sweet bread with muted (and sometimes â€œskunkyâ€) hops. So, to jack this up to imperial status has my interest.
This one is part of their â€œCrookedâ€ series of releases. Theyâ€™ve utilized a few phrases that relate to being unconventional â€“ unstraight. I guess to symbolize that these arenâ€™t your â€œeveryday, run of the mill varietiesâ€. They make a barleywine called â€œCockeyed Cooperâ€, an imperial IPA called â€œDetourâ€, an imperial stout called â€œLabyrynthâ€ and this one — â€œTilted Smileâ€. This one might be the coolest label of all — it has a cartoonish drawing of a woman with a Cheshire grin on her face. I guess her smirk probably relates to what else â€“ but the men in the background.
Pours a cloudy amber color. Not much of in the way of aroma here. First sip impression is that it’s quite fizzy and really not what I expected. As mentioned, I expected massive caramel sweet and a thick mouthfeel. Really lacking on both fronts. I wouldn’t call this one bad — but it’s far from good — so I’ll have to put it at 77 points.