Voodoo – Black Magick

Tasting: May 18, 2011
Style: Stout

About 20 years ago, my family bought me a “beer of the month club” membership. There were certainly a few “hits” over that year. For some reason, I recall that I liked Geary’s Ale – even though I haven’t had another in 20 years. But certainly more “misses” laid trapped in my refrigerator waiting for unsuspecting friends to relieve me of my inventory. Unfortunately, one of those misses also had one of the coolest names — Blackened Voodoo Lager. If I recall, it was pretty bad and I’ve steered clear of it ever since. Anyway, this beer is completely unrelated to that Voodoo — it’s just the name that sparked those long-dormant brain cells that contained that memory.

On a trip to Cold Spring Beverage, I was talking to a clerk about their allotment of Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout (1 case). He said if I like KBS, I should check out Black Magick. He said it was brewed by a Pennsylvania brewing company (Voodoo) and they aged their stout in bourbon barrels for six months to a year. This 12 ounce bottle has a cheap homemade-looking black & white label and it has commentary that leads me to believe it’s a real small operation. At 15.5% alcohol — I’ll buy one and give it a whirl. I went to the check out counter, I asked an older guy at the register if he had another (figured I would give it to Craig — since he loves KBS) — he said, “no, it was a mistake for us to buy that in the first place” — yikes! “mistake”?, I’m about to drink their mistake — did I make a mistake? We’ll see.

The pour is as dark as it can get. A pour right down the middle of my ½ pint pub glass only nets a thin coffee-colored head that vanishes quickly. The nose easily gives up the bourbon – severely boozy with chocolate and coffee undertones. The booziness carries into the flavor so much so that it mutes and burns away the dark chocolate flavors and whatever vanilla you might extract from the bourbon barrel. There is definitely no comparison to the elegant KBS. I wouldn’t call this a “mistake” but I’ll call it so-so at 81 points.

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