Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Midnight Sun Brewing Company - Berserker Imperial Stout

A little while ago, I realized that I was coming up on my 1,000th beer review on beeradvocate.com. Compared to a lot of people on that site, that's amateur, but I still wanted to mark the occasion with something special. I didn't know which beer to choose, but I knew a few things it had to be:

1. A stout- No way around it, stouts are by far my favorite. My 1,000th beer had to be a stout.

2. At least relatively high in ABV- I wasn't charging into 4 digits of reviews with some weak 4% ABV Oyster Stout. I had to show reviews 1,001 and beyond that I meant business.

3. A Top 250 Beer- Since I've been on this mission for a while, it only made sense to check another beer off the list in the process.

This sounds like it would limit things, but the Top 250 List is chock full of high ABV stouts. Apparently I'm not alone in my affinities. I still wasn't sure which one to go for, though. But I soon had my answer as I walked into Texas Liquor in Carlsbad one day right as they were receiving a delivery including a very big "want" off my list, Midnight Sun's Berserker.

If you've read this blog for a while, you've met Midnight Sun on numerous occasions. From the awesome T.R.E.A.T. to the beast of a Russian Imperial Stout, Moscow, they definitely know what they're doing up in Anchorage. One of their harder (for me at least) to track down beers is one that's been sitting on the Top 250 for a long time. Berserker is a nearly 13% ABV monster of a stout that's been aged in wine and bourbon barrels. I missed the shipment of it last year by a day, but luckily that wasn't the case this year. At #204 (and #1000, reviews-wise!), Berserker.

Berserker pours a monstrous black color, the likes of which I don't know I've ever seen in a beer. A miniscule head the color of mud tries to rise above the surface, but is quickly sucked under. Other than "amazing," I don't know what more I can say about the appearance of this beer. The smell is deep and inviting, with warm notes of molasses, dark chocolate, wet earth, cola and dark chocolate-covered cherries. Booze, charred oak and bourbon hang on the periphery. I didn't think I'd ever say this about another beer, but this really reminds me of The Abyss. High praise indeed.

The taste opens with a smooth wave of molasses, dark chocolate and fudge, with some charred oak and tobacco close behind. The finish brings some wet earth, bourbon and ash. The mouthfeel is velvety, with just a touch of dryness on the finish. Nothing that would lead you to think that you're drinking anything close to 13%.

Again, I never thought I'd say this, but this is right up there with The Abyss on nearly every level. It's absolutely fantastic now and I can't stop from getting myself hot and bothered wondering how this would taste with some age on it. I can't think of a better beer to carry me across the threshold into the land of 1000+ reviews. I can't wait to see what's ahead.

Final Grade: A+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 130

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