Type: Imperial Stout
Last night three beer bloggers, Martin from Stovt, Christian from beertalk.dk, and I, got together to try the strongest beer Mikkeller has brewed to date, Black Fist. There was a good deal of buzz about this one, because of it's extreme alcohol percentage, a whopping 26.1%, but also because of the way it was achieved. While most of these extreme beers are ice distilled, meaning a high alcohol beer is made, then frozen and water content is removed, kicking up the ABV. Black Fist on the other hand has been barrel aged a ridiculous ten different times, in ten different barrels. The result was a beer that had transformed from 18% to 26%. A relatively impressive achievement, if it tastes good. I have had the base beer before, along with a few of the barrel aged variants. I have really liked some of them, especially the bourbon edition. This beer also comes with an instruction sheet. Yes it has rules, like in Gremlins. Suggested time to put it in the fridge, serving temperature, glassware, all spelled out for you in a little card. We tried to stick to as many as possible, in order for it to taste the best possible. In the end I am not sure if they made a difference at all, but better safe then sorry. Well onto the review before I start making any jokes about the name of this beer. There has been quite enough of that already.
Pours black, imagine that right? This is not normal black, it is a darker shade of black, black squared. The smell is all business, if your business is booze. Hot ethanol, like a big whiff of straight whiskey, behind that, soy sauce and dark chocolate maltiness, I am surprised how much sweet chocolate gets through that wall of alcohol. The taste is a fascinating journey through massive alcohol and dark maltiness. The booze is everywhere, you don't get to 26% ABV without some consequence to the flavor. But behind that is still a surprising amount of taste. The chocolate is there as well as a very almond like nuttiness, sweet like marzipan. Also quite a lot of sweet milk chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Not picking up a lot of the whiskey barrels other then a bit of woodiness and I would assume that vanilla off the bourbon. A shame I would have liked to be able to pick that out better. What is also too bad is that the flavor is very one note, the complexity I wanted is not there. The alcohol taste...that is there, for sure. The alcohol is aggressive and in my opinion covers up a lot of the complexity by muddling the taste. I was hoping the flavors would change and become more complex as it stood, but honestly it was the same from start to finish. Syrupy body, long lasting hot aftertaste. Sweet and woody and hot is how I would sum it all up. The smell is more complex then the taste, and while that nutty chocolate vanilla is pleasant, it is not pleasant enough for a 250 kroner ($50) price tag. It was an experience, I will say that, but a worthwhile one, that is debatable. At least I got to try it with some fellow bloggers at my favorite bar.