“Throughout the ages, man has been fascinated by the quest for hidden knowledge, the search for the secret to transforming the elemental into the extraordinary, the simple into the sublime. Ladies and gentlemen, we present for your consideration this exotic, inky concoction, the almost magical creation of our modern day alchemists who have turned humble grains—barley, wheat, rye, and oats—into black, liquid gold. Layers of complex flavors slowly emerge from the glass: espresso, roasted fig, crème brulée. Belgian yeast provides a plum-like fruitiness, noble German hops reveal spicy, herbal notes, while the rich, velvety mouthfeel mellows to a dry, smoky finish.” 9.7% ABV
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a brandy snifter. The color is completely black, with no light coming through. The head begins thick and foamy, brown in color, and dissipates to a thin layer throughout.
Mainly dark fruit yeast, with undertones of chocolate malts and alcohol.
Medium-thick bodied, with some bitter harshness going down. The initial flavor is an acute punch of dark fruit bitterness, which gives way to the profoundly rich, roasted, slight sweet, smokey aftertaste. The palate is given flavors of dark chocolate and espresso, and the 9.7% ABV is hidden very well.
The brewery really does an outstanding job describing their beer here, and that is surprisingly uncommon. Every scent and flavor offered is done well. A slightly different take on a big stout, with a little more dark fruits and smoke for one not barrel-aged or labeled as an imperial. That being said, they compliment the fabulous roasted malts quite well. Just a bit more of the malts would make this a near-perfect beer. 7.5/10
Boulevard Brewing Company – Kansas City, Missouri