We’re well beyond serious at this point folks. Well beyond it and then some. Here we may actually have a near perfect culmination of what dark and beastly beers ought to be about. It’s slick and black, malty and bitter, big, bold and boozy.
This isn’t any sunny day kiddie sipper, oh no. If little Johnny and his delinquent friends decided it was time to sneak a beer from Dad’s six-pack and see what all the hype around beer really was, they’re probably in over their heads at this point. Once that cap is popped, there’s no turning back and childhood…childhood is over.
I am of course not condoning or encouraging the youth to do what they will do anyway. I in fact, discourage it. Life is long and full of reasons to drink massive stank black beers, but raw curiosity is likely not high on the list. That being said though, welcome to this Imperial Coffee Stout, which itself was aged in “High West” rye barrels.
What exactly “High West” rye is, I don’t know. And frankly, with this glass staring me in the face, I’m too preoccupied to care. So let’s jump right into this thing.
This beer is black; I think I mentioned that. But as I’m fond of doing, I want to reiterate how black this beer is. This goes well beyond midnight on a moonless night and is instead midnight on a moonless night in the depths of deep space, slung and flung to some gods forsaken corner of the universe where light has yet to be invented. It is the classic “lose your soul in the inky depths” kind of a thing. But that is only just the beginning.
Thick as a beer can or rightfully should ever ought to try to be under any circumstances, it takes on a foreboding intensity upon merely watching how it drips slowly from bottle to glass. Coffee, a dark and rich roasted sort, wafts from the glass punching the nose from feet away. A malt bomb is detected by the sinuses and the palate gets intrigued.
At a sip, this thing makes motor oil feel like spring water. The raw density is not only notable in how truly thick the beer itself is, but also in how much raw and powerful flavor is packed in to each sip. Coffee, richly roasted malts, hints of chocolate and through and through, the undeniable smack of serious alcohol. To be precise, 12.2% ABV.
I might almost say it’s too much, but I don’t believe in too much. I barely even believe in just enough. This beer might almost be just enough, although not for the faint of heart or casual drinker.
No, this is a serious beer. With a finish that lingers and warms to the point of almost burning, there is – I believe – a very obvious reason this is part of their “OneHitter” series. Any more than one of these beasts and you will be on your ass in a very real way.
So to Lagunitas, to High West Rye and of course to you beautiful bastards, I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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