Sunday, July 12, 2009

Out of the Cellar: Bell's Java Stout

Brewery: Bell's Brewery
Style: Coffee Stout

ABV: 8.1%

Date Poured: July 2009

When I had this beer fresh, it was good but I found the coffee flavors to be a bit overpowering and, at times, even astringent. I wondered if some cellaring would help mute the coffee bitterness and bit and make the beer a bit more balanced. So here is this bottle, picked up on a trip through the American Midwest two summers ago, with two years in the cellar to see if it worked.

Still pours the color of dirty motor oil, still topped by a frothy brown head that retreats to a wisp within minutes. The mocha aromas still dominate but they seem sweeter. A good sign?

Lots of bitter chocolate in the mouth and the sweet mocha flavor comes through as well. It's a little hot still, you can taste some alcohol and get the warming from this ale as it slides down the gullet. Wee bit sticky in the finish, sweet roasted malt in the aftertaste.

The proof here is at the end of the glass because the coffee flavors were not overpowering right away but became evident as the beer warmed and more was consumed.

The verdict? It actually did help quite a bit. This beer is much more balanced now and the big coffee flavors, while very present, are nicely muted. Successful experiment!

Bell's Brewery

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