Saturday, July 12, 2014

A. Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout

In the 1800's, the Belgian Albert Le Coq exported English imperial stouts to Russia and the Baltics. As the popularity of stout increased in Russia, the Tsarist government invited Le Coq to brew his stout within the Russian empire and in 1912 production began in Tartu, Livonia (now Estonia). World War I and the Russian Revolution led to troubles and the brewery was nationalized by the Bolshevik government, with production ceasing in 1921.  This beer is revived now by Harvey and Sons of East Sussex, England, under the supervision of the board of trustees of A. Le Coq and Tartu Brewery of Estonia. This is a 9% stout, and it's not just imperial, it's not just extra, and it's not just double, it is the Imperial Extra Double Stout!

The beer pours deep black in color, even when held to the light. There is a near inch of brown head. The aroma is brett funk, spices, molasses, burnt sugars, a tart vinegary note. The taste is deep, rich, dark roasted malt, coffee, char, bittersweet dark chocolate, with a brett funk. I’m not sure if it is supposed to have that funkiness or not (their website says it is supposed to have densely sweet along with sour notes). The end is dry, fairly bitter, with some alcohol warmth. This tastes, quite frankly, like it is from the Tsarist days.

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