Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: Southern Tier's Crème Brulèe

I love Southern Tier, but more specifically I love their single-bottle releases. Even more specifically, I love their imperials (i.e. Pumking) and their Blackwater Series. The DeCicco's I work at only carries two offerings from the Blackwater Series: Plum Noir and Crème Brulèe. The former, which I've had and liked quite a bit, is an imperial porter brewed with italian plums. If you've never had a beer brewed with grapes (i.e. Dogfish Head's Midas Touch) or plums, give Plum Noir a whirl. It's quite tasty, with a welcome note of tartness.

But this review is focusing on Crème Brulèe (I may, at this point in the review, stop putting cutesy little accents on the "e"s), which is a stout brewed with vanilla beans. Before I dive into this beer, I will say I am putting a lot of faith in Southern Tier here. I've had beers like this before and they were, well, "meh". I tried Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter, for example, and found it to be smooth, vanilla-y, and to lack a body. But that's it. It didn't stand out to me. So to try something very similar is kind of a leap of faith for me. Was this bottle worth $10? Let's find out...

Appearance: 4/5
Creme Brulee pours smoothly. I poured some into a snifter. It is completely opaque and black. It definitely looks like a f***ing stout. The head was a little bit of a let-down, at least on this pour. I may try pouring more vigorously as I continue to enjoy the bottle, but upon this pour I got half a finger's worth of medium tan head which dissipated to a thin layer of creamy-looking head that remains for quite a while. There is also prominent lacing.

Nose: 4.5/5
Upon nosing Creme Brulee, I was knocked back by the strong aroma of vanilla. It's a mouthwatering wave of an aroma! It's rather hard to sift through such a powerful upfront smell, but I do smell some cocoa beneath the vanilla and a bit of nutty-smelling malt.

Taste: 5/5
It tastes like a milk stout, and a damn good one at that! Upfront creamy vanilla coupled with some dark malts. Nuttiness and hints of chocolate in the darker malts, as well as some light caramel notes. The beer is very sweet overall. It tastes just like a very rich dessert, and I'm definitely left wanting more!

Mouthfeel: 4.5/5
Creme Brulee is quite creamy and rich. It feels thick upon the pallet, which is great. This stout has a perfectly balanced body. Not too dark and heavy, and not too creamy. Just right for a milk stout.

Finish: 3.5/5
Upon the finish I got some light hoppy bitterness, which was humbling. The vanilla and caramel notes stick around afterward, leaving me salivating for more.

Total Score: 92.5/100

I must say, Southern Tier have really outdone themselves with this milk stout. I expected something a little less prominent going in and got a very alluring, creamy, aroma-filled experience. I'd definitely recommend this if you're on the fence about Southern Tier (which you shouldn't be, they do a bang-up job on most of their stuff). This beer is also notably great at room temperature. So grab a bottle a drink up!

Until next time, cheers!


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