Xiquic and the hero twins
Brewery: Amager/Cigar City
Type: Imperial Stout
Well here comes the next in line from Amager's American collaboration series. This time the renowned Cigar City Brewing from Florida. Now this beer is actually really interesting. I have never tried a beer from Cigar City before, truth be told. I have only heard whispers in the night about theri unique beers using cedar wood, cuban style coffee, and white oak aged IPAs. Well now I finally have a beer that they helped make sitting in front of me, and I am quite excited. This is an imperial stout, made using black pepper and cigar cities unique cedar wood. Now is the verb of aging beer on cedar, cedaring? Anyway I really like the idea of black pepper in beer. I have had a few quite unique porters and stouts using this ingredient, but never one aged on any kind of wood. There are also quite a few hop players lurking in this dark guy, so lets see what they bring to the table. Ok no more talk, time to drink!
Pours tar black with a medium one and a half finger dark tan head. Rapid fade back into a nice film on top of the beer. We are checking imperial stout boxes here folks. The smell is very unique. I get the pepper right up front, no screwing around. Huge smell of fresh cracked black pepper. Almost makes you want to sneeze! I can also pick up that spicy distinct cedar wood smell, smells like your grandparents wardrobe. Honestly those are the dominant smells, certainly a little dark malt in there and of course some indistinct spicy hop notes as well. It is hard to describe, dark spicy mysterious, just very mysterious and inviting. Bottom line I love this smell. Now I was worried that this would be a spicy beer, which I am not a huge fan of. Please save your chilies for chili. But this is in fact not spicy at all. At the base this is a very dark and chocolatey beer. Rich cocoa tones mix with the spicy black pepper which make both really pop. Then that crazy cedar wood taste hits and gives it a spicy, nearly smoky aspect. Never had cedar wood in a beer, but it tastes as cedar smells, unique and kind of unexplainable. Hops are basically non-existent in the taste. They certainly add to the nice little bite you get in the finish. Black pepper bite and a hop bitterness combine to give a nice snap at the end of each sip. The mouthfeel is huge and mouth coating. There is a long lasting cocoa and cedar aftertaste.
My parents had a cedar bureau in the house they kept the nice clothes in. You know to keep out the moths…which we have very few of. This just takes me back to the smell of that thing. This beer is obviously a concept beer. Just the explanation of a cedar aged black pepper imperial stout would have most non beer geeks heading for the door.I can not stress enough that non adventurous beer drinkers should stick to a whiff and a sip of this beer. That being said, I AM a beer geek. Card carrying and proud, and I LOVE this beer. The black pepper makes all the great chocolate and big dark imperial flavors pop, while adding a nice bit of spice and flavor itself. The cedar is just outrageous, the flavor it brings makes my mouth and brain work overtime to try and translate these flavors to words. This is the kind of beer I like as a shake up to the status quo. If you are a beergeek who loves to have beer experiences, this is for you. I have to get to Florida!
As with all of these beers, I must tip my hat to the main Dane who turned me on to these beers in the first place. Head over to Stovt for a review of this same beer rendered in this brew's other mother tongue.