On the docket: 750 mL cork and cage bottle of Uinta’s Labyrinth, bottle date: 7/26 (year unknown)
Poured into: Jester King Snorkel snifter
S: The inkiest, blackest, consuming black fills my glass. On top, espresso-foam head wells up, then settles to a small ring. It’s completely opaque, so I cannot detect bubble activity. I could stare into its depths for hours, but I have to smell and taste it, too.
A: Roasted coffee, wood, the darkest of chocolate, and Oh My Sweet Lord! Black Licorice. Bright citrus aroma off the hops. And yes… booze. This black beauty weighs in at 13.2%. Sip with care!
T: If I were Adam, in the Garden, and Lucifer were to slither up to me with a glass of this and start speaking of rebellion–well–let’s just say he wouldn’t have to try very hard. This is most of everything I look for in a dark, dangerous beer. Sweet date and fig up front quickly yields to coffee, dark chocolate, and black licorice. The bright note from the hop aroma shows up towards the end, only to be outdone by a dry, roasty, woody finish. The faintest hint of vanilla. Your tongue turns to 800 grit sandpaper and you go back for another seductive barrage of flavor. A note- the black licorice is smooth and silky, like that of gourmet product, not of a candy that rhymes with sizzler.
F: Creamy, oily, slick, coating. Rich and luxurious. As it warms…. so does the finish, though quite dry. Drink cool for crispness, drink warmer for richness.
O: Quite possibly the best imperial stout I’ve ever tasted, and though I may not have had offerings such as The Abyss, Dark Lord, Hunahpu, Speedway, Black Note, or those whales that people chase… good God! Give me one of these every year, and I’ll consider myself a blessed man.
S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.75 F: 4.25 O: 4.5
Suggested food pairing: smoked charcuterie, braised beef, low and slow barbecue, tiramisu, and my personal pick- traditional Slovak poppy seed roll. Divine flavor synthesis.