Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today I share a very special brew.

When I developed this beer in 2008, it was called Reindeer Fuel Stout. It was a milk stout recipe that I found on and added a LOT of coffee to it. But not just any coffee, I used a very heavily spiced “Christmas Blend” coffee. I wrote about this beer a few years ago for BeerPorn. You can read about that  (HERE)

This beer has been very well received with everyone that has tasted or brewed it, but it takes on a whole new life  with each new brewer, each water source and each type of coffee used.

Back in October, a friend of mine, that I’ve not seen since High School, posted to Facebook that he was looking for a Christmas beer to brew. I pointed him toward the recipe (HERE), and he was nice enough to deliver a bottle right to my office on the day after Christmas.

The beer is black just like a cup of coffee, and pours with a rocky head the color of creamed coffee.

The head falls pretty quickly, but remained lacy through the entire glass.

The nose is of roasted barley and coffee.

The body is a tad light, due to the amount of pre-brewed coffee that is added, but the flavor is fantastic.

The roasted barley mates very nicely with the coffee, and the lactose gives just a touch of sweetness that will be  quite welcome to those who take sugar in their coffee. There are hints of vanilla, a touch of bourbon, chocolate and an ever so slight earthy quality to this beer.

As the beer warms, the body becomes less of an issue and there is a touch of bitterness that comes through just at the finish. There is no tannic taste that you could expect from something with this much coffee in it.... The joys of cold brewed coffee! 

Justin said he used a Starbucks Christmas blend coffee, which gives a very nice contrast to the original coffee from this recipe. I used Gevalia Christmas coffee that had a very strong nutmeg and allspice notes.

I never fail to be amazed at how the coffee lends a very “Oaked” character to this brew. Matter of fact, it scored very poorly at the Colorado Sate Fair competition in 2009. The judge’s note said “Very enjoyable, but entry into the proper category is the key. Put this in the wood aged category.”

Funny, because nary a fleck of oak ever touched it, but I would be interested in actually adding oak to a batch and seeing how far it can be pushed before it crumples and falls over the edge!

This beer is like a roasty glass of strong coffee. I love this brew, and Justin did it proud!

I must say that it was a treat to taste this beer brewed from someone else, especially an old High School buddy that I hadn’t seen in years! And the best news is that he brought me a Kolsch too!

I hope you all have great weekend plans, perhaps you can get together with an old friend and have a beer.... Or make one!


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