Last winter, Lost Palms released two imperial stouts: a straight stout and one with flavour additions. As we head into winter, they've got a similar dual release of imperial stouts with First Time Caller and Long Time Listener. And just as I found in last year’s beers, the altered one takes the already lovely base stout and then is surprisingly greater than the sum of its parts.
First Time Caller is a beer that asserts its presence. Right from the pour its dark brown foam commands respect, even if it doesn’t hang around for too long. A smooth coffee liqueur character runs through the centre of FTC, with just enough roast bitterness to keep its charisma from being overly slick, and there’s a real gravitas in the finish – a note of rich soil, or damp forest floor, or unlit cigar – that keeps everything grounded.
When I first tasted Long Time Listener, I knew it was a pastry stout, and knew nothing else about it. So I let the flavours just wash over me to see what I noticed. I got a measured coconut sweetness and a thread of boozy kirsch-like cherry, all wrapped up in dark chocolate goodness. Confident of my Cherry Ripe findings, I looked into what had been added to this stout and was told there’s lactose, cacao nibs, a bunch of lightly toasted coconut, and plenty of vanilla bean… and no cherry.
Considering last year I tasted Allen’s Strawberries & Cream in one of last year's beers (when there was no strawberry) and this year I’m tasting cherry in Long Time Listener, I can’t help but wonder if the vanilla beans used were particularly fruity.
Lost Palms, who is your vanilla dealer??
- Imperial Stout & Imperial Pastry Stout
- 10.5% & 9.5% ABV