Welcome to the UFC on FOX 3: "Miller vs Diaz" edition of MMAmania.com presents "Beermania."
The plan is to rate and review two different styles of beer prior to each major UFC fight card, with one brand representing each of the two main event fighters. For this edition, I will present two Russian Imperial Stouts from the respective home states of our two headlining pugilists, New Jersey and California.
Here's how it works.
When reviewing a beer, there are typically five categories of concern: Appearance (A), Smell (S), Taste (T), Mouth-feel (M), and Drinkability (D). After a brief description for each category, based on my tasting notes, I will assign a letter grade to each beer.
With any luck, I can convince some you to try out a beer you normally wouldn't have sampled at the local watering hole -- or keep you from making a huge mistake when ordering on the fly.
Follow me after the jump to get started.Russian Imperial Stout
Inspired by brewers back in the 1800's to win over the Russian Czar, this is the king of stouts, boasting high alcohol-by-volume (ABV) and plenty of malt character. Low to moderate levels of carbonation with huge roasted, chocolate and burnt malt flavors. Often dry. Suggestions of dark fruit and flavors of higher alcohols are quite evident. Hop character can vary from none to balanced to aggressive. Average ABV range is 8.0-12.00 percent.
Now, on to the beers!
From the Brewery: Boaks Beer
This Russian Imperial Stout is an intensely flavorful beer. Chocolaty, roasty, fruity, and bittersweet, with a hidden alcohol presence. This beer was designed to be sipped slowly on a cool evening in a nice cognac glass. Let it warm up to get the full flavor. This beer won Best in Show at the 2005 NJ State Fair when Brian was home brewing.
- ABV: 10%
- IBU’s: 100
- Color: Black
- Food Pairing: Oysters, Dessert, Strong Cheese, Chocolate (replace your coffee with this beer). Enjoy with a nice cigar.
- Style: Russian Imperial Stout
- Availability: Year-round, bottle and draft
A: Pours a dark black with a medium tan head that slowly fades to a thin layer, leaves a minimal amount of lacing.
S: Sweet and malty, caramel, brown sugar, floral hops, almost a bit of oxidation, light roast.
T: Roasted malt at first, sweeter than expected, toffee and caramel in the middle and then a dry slightly hoppy finish. The finish has a lingering aftertaste of coffee and bitter dark chocolate with a little heat of alcohol.
M: The mouthful was silky at first, before giving way to a creamy, albeit thin for the style, feel.
D: Tastes like a stout of half the ABV of this beer, Due to the sweetness, I would probably treat this as a dessert beer, perhaps use it as the base of a float.
The Boaks Monster Mash is not a bad beer, but it is nothing more than average to me. Maybe pour some over a scoop of ice cream for desert, but when looking for a Russian Imperial stout, there are lots of better choices.
Next up, out of the blue corner, representing California and Nate Diaz, is Eel River Brewing: Organic Raven's Eye Imperial Stout.
From the Brewery: Eel River Brewing
ORGANIC RAVEN'S EYE IMPERIAL STOUT
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Original Gravity: 24.0 P
Alcohol: 9.5% by volume
Color: Rich Dark Brown Espresso
A rich, roasty brew with a deep espresso character, this Russian Imperial Stout is strong, yet incredibly smooth. Originally brewed for the Imperial Court in Russia, this style stout is a warm festive drink made with the cold Russian winters in mind.. Food Pairing:
The intense flavor of the Raven's Eye Russian Imperial Stout can easily overpower most main dishes; however, it stands up to goie gras and smoked goose. For cheese pairings try long-aged cheeses such as Gouda, parmesan or cheddar. Pair the Raven's Eye with rich desserts such as dark chocolate truffles or chocolate raspberry mousse cake.
Try this beer with the rich Brie & Mushroom burger or any of the house stout-smoked meats from Eel River Brewing Company's Taproom and Grill in Fortuna, CA! For dessert, pair it with our chocolate walnut stout torte.
2011 California State Fair Commercial Craft Brewers Competition Gold Medal 2010 Australian International Beer Awards Silver Medal 2008 & 2009 Los Angeles International Beer Competition Gold Medal 2005 World Beer Championships Gold Medal
A: Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. Okay retention and some sticky lace.
S: Big aroma of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, and fruit.
T: Chocolate with roasted malts. Minimal nuances of dark dried fruits. I am picking up some black licorice as well, perhaps some anise? There's a detectable hop presence. The alcohol stands out as a bit too rough.
M: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Not the thickest stout, but with the flavor profile that is not a bad thing.
D: Pretty drinkable even with the high ABV. The lighter mouth-feel helps a bit too.
If judging this as an Organic beer, I would probably give it a B, but as a Russian Imperial Stout, it is just above average, I gave it the C+ over the C because of the licorice flavor, which is something I enjoy, but I could certainly understand if someone is turned off to this beer for the same reason. I don't know if I would buy another bottle, but if I ever see it on draft, I would order one up.
Other Recommended Russian Imperial Stouts: North Coast Brewing: Old Rasputin Brooklyn Brewery: Black Chocolate Stout Oscar Blues: Ten Fidy Victory Brewing: Storm King Bell's Brewery: Expedition Stout.
That wraps up this edition of Beermania for UFC on FOX 3. As always, enjoy responsibly and please join us in the coming weeks for a very special Rootbeer edition of Beermania for UFC on FUEL TV 3.