Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stone Brewing Company - Suede Imperial Porter

Stone got off to kind of a slow start with their collaborations this year, only releasing one between January and mid-year (though their Dayman Coffee IPA was a very good "one"). Then the mid-year point hit and Stone dropped not one, not two, but THREE collaboration beers within a pretty short period of time. I've been a pretty big fan of Stone's past collaborations, so I was relieved to see that they were still happening. But I suppose the bigger question was: Are they any good? To me, both the Woot Stout and the R&R IPA were misses (not horrible beers, but not as good as they could have been). Let's check out the newest one, Suede, and see if it can get things back on track.

Suede is a collaboration with Washington D.C.'s soon-to-be-open Bluejacket Brewing and Bend, Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing (both of which have female head brewers, which is cool to see). For Suede, the brewers decided to make an imperial porter brewed with local avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers (AKA Marigolds). Sounds promising. On to the beer!

Suede Imperial Porter pours a thinnish-looking medium brown color that turns nearly black once it settles in the glass. A one finger light brown head forms immediately, but fades pretty fast. I was looking forward to getting a lot of floral aromas out of this one, but I let this beer sit for nearly an hour and could still barely coax any kind of smell out of it. Strange... What I could pick out was a lightly sweet aroma reminiscent of honey alongside some lightly toasted wheat bread, toasted malt and a distant floral note. Definitely a bit underwhelming.

The flavor opens with some lightly roasted malt alongside some honey-soaked rye bread. It stays like that for a while, never really veering into other flavors, until a finish that gets...weird. All of a sudden, the flavor tails off into a creamy, lingering bitter flavor that I can only describe as "straight flower petal." If you've ever eaten a rose petal, the sensation is really similar to what I was getting from this beer. It's velvety and sticky at the same time, and there's a slightly oily bitterness that clings to your tongue like crazy. It's definitely different and kind of a cool sensation, but the flavor never really gets better, which is a shame. On the positive side, the mouthfeel is spot on. You would never suspect this beer of being close to 10%. But making it through the entire bottle may be difficult for other reasons. I just couldn't do it. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say that this is my least favorite of this year's collaborations. It's in no way a "bad" beer, but it left a lot to be desired. Let's hope the next collaboration is a little better.

Final Grade:C+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 129

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