The first beer we are BrewViewing for our December 2016 BREWERY SPOTLIGHT is for the SPENCER BREWERY and their TRAPPIST IMPERIAL STOUT. The Spencer Brewery is the first in the world to produce an Imperial Stout in a Trappist Monastery.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION FROM THE SPENCER BREWERY
Style category: Trappist Imperial Stout
A massive, roasted, malt-forward American Trappist take on the Anglo-Russo Imperial Stout tradition. Luxuriantly frothy foam, waves of coffee, chocolate and caramel sensations, a generous blend of dark fruit flavors. Intense and robust.
OUR BREWVIEW ON SPENCER TRAPPIST iMPERIAL STOUT
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
8.7 % ABV. Poured into the signature long stemmed Spencer Trappist glass, and served at 55°F. per the abbey’s suggestion.
It poured an easy 2-finger height, cotton ball dense, medium tan colored head, that was creamy and tightly bubbled. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean.”
The color is opaque black, with an SRM value of 40+. The rim color variation is deep brown, SRM value of 30. The meniscus is slow rising. After about 8 minutes of it being poured, the head left behind excellent Brussels lacing on the sides of the glass, almost what a high quality root beer would leave behind. The head height stayed a constant 1/8″ high throughout consumption time. We liked what we saw so far!
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Immediately you get heavy espresso, dark baker’s chocolate, cocoa nibs, dark malts, dark molasses, and dark fruit- raisins, dates, figs. What sets this Imperial Stout apart from others on the market is the bready Trappist yeast aromas, and the spicy phenols they provide. As the beer warms up, the dark fruits and the Trappist yeast notes express themselves more.
The aromas carry over into the taste. Intense roasted malts, burnt toast, blackened, caramelized raisins, double espresso. Again the Trappist yeast is a standout here with the bready character.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
There is a slight tickle to the tip of the tongue due to the spiciness from the yeast; it is not as cloying or oily as many imperial stouts tend to be. Medium to bordering on full-bodied. Intense, roasty, toasty finish that lingers- deep roasted chestnut, walnut, burnt toast, deep dark molasses… very nice, indeed. As the beer warms up, the mouthfeel does become a bit more silky.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Chesses- Strong cheddar, blue veined (Stilton, Roquefort), Trappist washed-rind cheeses (will Spencer ever make their own cheese one day?) A well appointed Charcuterie platter with salamis, pâtés, sausages, and cured hams would do nicely.
Immediately a high quality cut of beef comes to mind- grass fed, organic aged black pepper crusted Ribeye, Porterhouse, or a Filet Mignon. If you can find Kobe quality beef, even better. You could pair it with well-seasoned Pork Tenderloin, or Grilled Saffron Rack of Lamb.
Of course, chocolate desserts will be harmonious. Opt for high quality truffles, or even a great Florentine Chocolate Tart. A well baked, flourless Chocolate Soufflé would be Heavenly. For cookie fans, we would suggest a Salted Chocolate Rye pairing. To make an ice cream with Spencer Trappist Imperial Stout would be fantastic!
OUR OVERALL IMPRESSION:
An excellent offering of the classic Imperial Stout style. Well brewed, extremely well balanced.
The drinkability of this beer is very high, and hides it’s nearly 9% ABV very well. Highly recommended, enthusiasts of the Imperial Stout beer style will be pleasantly surprised with this world-first, from the first American Trappist brewery.
ADDITIONAL LINKS- DECEMBER 2016 BREWERY SPOTLIGHT FOR THE SPENCER BREWERY
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15