Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Black Cauldron Imperial Stout
I mentioned before that I find “stout season” to be redundant, even though Founders would have you think otherwise. And while summer still has a death grip on the state, it’s getting cool enough to where my tastes switch from IPAs to stouts as my go-to beer.
I’ve had this bottle of Grand Teton‘s Black Cauldron Imperial Stout sitting in my cellar for about a year. An impulse buy around a year ago, the 8% imperial stout brewed with Nugget and Cascade hops and a touch of beechwood-smoked malts has gone from being part of the brewery’s Cellar Reserve series to a year-round offering. Snarling Badger and 5 O’Clock Shadow, the other two beers in that series, have been winners for me, and Black Cauldron continues that trend.
The pour – true to its name – it black as night. It’s a thinner pour but not too watery, topped with a finger’s worth of a dark brown head that dissipates really quickly. Only some mild lacing, but really nice alcohol legs.
The nose is a lot boozier than I expected. There’s a kind of big, thick bourbon note, even more strange considering it’s not a barrel-aged beer. There are big hints of sweeter dark chocolate, really dark coffee and a touch of plum and toffee as well.
There’s a slight roasted bitterness on the front of the tongue, and it’s etremely smooth on the palate. The finish has kind of this puckering bitterness. It’s kind of like that taste you get after a sip of red wine. There’s still a flavorful fruitiness, but there’s a sort of tannic bite. There are big plums mixed with dark chocolate and coffee that follow the nose. The roasted notes really linger on the end, and your get a really big caramel not with a definite hint of what tasted like raspberry.
Black Cauldron really surprised me. I didn’t expect it to be bad by any means, but the complexity and robustness was a bit unexpected. It’s not too thick or heavy on the alcohol, which works to help accentuate the sweeter, almost sherry-like flavors mixed in with everything. It’s still most certainly a stout, with bitter notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, but the unique sweetness is a nice touch.