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01-26-2012, 10:09 PM
Epsilon's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Florence, SC
Posts: 39,640
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Last night at beer night I set up a 4 beer blind taste test. The contenders:

1. Sweetwater Happy Ending Russian Imperial Stout (seasonal)

2. Thirsty Dog Bourbon Aged Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout

3. Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

4. Southern Tier Imperial Oat Imperial Oatmeal Stout

All of them are, of course, big, full-bodied, high ABV imperial stouts. Opinions from the group were all over the map. The Stone offering was almost universally disliked (it was overly sweet, and a surprising dud from such a typically great brewery), while the Southern Tier was often ranked either last or first (including being ranked first by some people who have had it on its own and disliked it considerably - we concluded that somehow being at the tail end of this flight of beers masked some of its poorer characteristics, like the sweetness). The Sweetwater Happy Ending seasonal (which changes slightly each year, I'm told) was easily the most sessionable of the bunch (as much as a high ABV Russian imperial can be ); it drank quite smoothly and didn't pack anywhere near the punch of the others despite being similar in alcohol content. The Thirsty Dog Siberian Night was clearly the most complex and fully flavored, but some people felt there was a bit to much bourbon barrel flavor (which I enjoyed).

My personal preference would be 2 > 1 > 3 > 4, with the 2nd easily in first and the last two being close to tied for the bottom.

Last edited by Epsilon: 01-26-2012 at 11:12 PM.
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