What: Russian Imperial Stout treated with Hazelnut Coffee
How we had it: On draft into snifter
What we saw: Pitch black motor oil pours thick in to the glass leaving a thin tan/brown head. The head reduces down quickly in to a ring around the glass and a light tan haze on top of the beer. Held to the light, the beer is completely opaque. Very rich and inviting appearance. A really nice looking stout.
What we smelled: You're immediately hit with a wonderfully sweet bouquet of hazelnut, nutella, dark chocolate, and coffee. As the beer warms, the presence of coffee softens just a bit and allows the hazelnut to become even more prevalent. A nice roast is present behind the sweet hazelnut throughout the entirety of the glass. I found myself continuing to go back to get more and more of the aroma as it really adds to the experience of the beer and sets you for the next sip.
What we tasted: Balance. Perceived sweetness up front followed by a sturdy, roasty, and slightly bitter character you expect from a high quality Russian Imperial Stout. Again, the hazelnut dominates on the front of the palate giving that very sweet first impression. The sweetness is balanced on the back of the palate by a roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and lingering bitterness on the tongue. The mouth feel plays beautifully into the richness of the flavors by providing a viscous, creamy, velvety vessel for the layers of flavor and complexity. As the beer warms the dark chocolate and roast from the coffee and base beer shine even more.
What we thought: This is a fantastic and well-balanced treated version of the JWB La Nada Russian Imperial Stout. While the base beer is fantastic on its own, the hazelnut coffee treatment shines and adds to beer, which is great from start to finish. The color and consistency are visually appealing coming out of the tap, as it sits in the glass, and on the tongue. The aroma is inviting and complex. JWB is producing some of the country's best stouts - always delivering big bold flavors while ensuring a quality base beer and balance.