In the last couple of years, Felons have released imperial stouts inspired by the traditional stouts of the UK. This year, they’ve hopped across the pond and put together an American style version, letting US hops shout alongside the roar of the malts in the six-strong grain bill. Specifically, they’ve turned to experimental hop variety HBC1019 (with some Canadian Sasquatch in there for good measure) to bring a flurry of off-centre fruit flavours.
Also, it has to be said: this is a dark beer. A very dark beer. The Felons crew describe it as "space black." As head brewer Lincoln Gibbs says: “I’m a firm believer that if light shines through an imperial stout, it’s not dark enough!”
Pour a glass and you’ll get a big ol’ head that looks like chocolate mousse and smells like chocolate Yogo.* There’s are some interesting notes coming through in the aroma signalling that hops are in play, but it wasn’t until I started drinking til I latched onto them properly. That’s when they began to hit as dark berry, blood plum, and in the background… melon custard.** With the boozy weight infusing every drop of this dark matter and the richness coming from the specialty malts, the whole experience is kind of like you’re drinking chocolate liqueur while biting into a plum and smelling fruit salad, all at the same time. Then coffee bitterness shows up in the finish, even though coffee flavour had been surprisingly absent until then.
The flavours in this beer make for an unfamiliar combo… but a very cool one.
Felons released this beer on June 21 for the winter solstice,*** and there are only 4,800 cans of it. I’ve already drunk one, and I’ve got one more that I’m saving for later. The rest of you can fight over the remaining 4.798 cans.
*Remember Yogo?? I just remembered it exists. And it had those cartoon ads with the cool gorilla! Blast from the past.
**Yes, yes, I’m well aware this isn’t a flavour anyone has actually experienced ever. But it’s the description that came to mind. The Muse doesn’t always conform to silly conventions like "pre-existing concepts".
***Technically the solstice was just on the other side of midnight on June 22, but who releases a beer at 12.57am?
Published June 22, 2023 2023-06-22 00:00:00