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Monday, March 15, 2010

Brief Reviews: Full Sail Imperial Stout, MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler

I am falling behind again in my reviews, and so here are a couple of quickies.

Full Sail Imperial Stout
I recently picked up a 22 of Full Sail's imperial, lured partly by the price ($4). Anything under five bucks these days seems like a bargain. Full Sail divided this batch into two; the first half is what's in bottles now and the second half is sitting in 19 and 19-year-old Heaven Hill bourbon casks for later release. So this is really just a preview of coming attractions. As imperials go, it's on the small end, just 8%, and what jumped out at me was how thin the body was. Generally imperial stouts are like pudding--you spoon them down rather than sip them. This isn't a criticism, though--it makes for a very smooth, creamy beer. It's a roasty, plummy beer, fairly sweet in the middle, though the hops assert themselves in the aftertaste. If such a thing as a session imperial is possible, this is it. Eight percent may not be a lot for an imperial stout, but it's a lot for 22 ounces. Careful when you crack this one. Rating: B+

MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler
Will Belgian strongs ever in Oregon? Several breweries have tried versions of robust golden ales--Duvel style, tripels, or hybrids--and none have repeated the experiment, which I take to mean that they're not selling well. Spine Tingler is a fairly straightforward tripel, brewed with a touch of wheat and sugar. This is a beer that depends on the yeast. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I think I heard folks at the brewery say they went with a yeast like Unibroue. Here it produces a quite dry, sparkling beer with evident sugar alcohol and a crisp finish. Not a lot of funk, but clearly Belgian. Tripels are not actually my favorite style, so while this was a fine version, it didn't light me up. I'll be interested to see what true fans of the style think. Oh, and I don't know what it costs, because I had my pour at the brewery, gratis, when I visited. Rating: B+

1 comment:

  1. Good reviews. I was thirsty the other day and stopped by my corner Plaid Pantry to see what they had in stock. I left with the Full Sail Imperial Stout, and the Full Sail Hop Pursuit for $7 and some change. For the money, the Imperial Stout was a pretty solid offering. The Hop Pursuit really paled (unintentional pun) in comparison.