Welp, I have tried to convince myself that spring is coming, regardless of what an overgrown rodent in Pennsylvania says. And while the temperatures this past weekend in Southeastern Virginia said that were are on our way, I know better. And so do the local breweries. We are hitting the home stretch of winter beers for the season as the Farmhouses and DIPAs start to slowly hit the market like Pumpkin beer in August. But before we get there, I have a few more reviews this week to wrap up some of the heavier fair we have been enjoying this season. First up was a release from last month that has finally made it down to our area.
Vanilla Virginia Black Bear, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (Goochland, VA)
Russian Imperial Stout, ABV: 9.3%
Presentation: 750ml into tulep glass. (You might have seen a devilishly handsome man holding this up at a local establishment on Twitter. Go on, check your feed)
Appearance: Zero light escapes this one. Head is deep brown hues that immediately dies down.
Smell: Bombarded with vanilla and coffee straight out of the gate, intensified by the dark malts and alcohol.
Taste: I got two impressions off of this beer. The first was the vanilla. It felt like some scraped a pure vanilla bean across my mouth. It is heavy and dominates throughout. The second was the RI component of the beer. Strong malts and dark coffee present in the middle of the taste that become more prevalent as it warms up.
ABV/IBU Feel: Unlike straight up stouts, the Russian Imperials have a characteristic alcohol mouthfeel, and you get every bit of the 9.3%. It is light, but not too light with a clean coffee aftertaste. While the IBUs are in the 70s, it was again hard to really pick up on them.
Overall: While this is a bear of a beer (pun intended), this is definitely one to save for the end of the night. A lot of overpowering flavors to this beer, including the vanilla and coffee, that saves it for heavier deserts or as a stand alone aperitif. I know this goes into a lot of my reviews lately, but tis the season for these releases. While it is specialized, it is a quality beer made with great ingredients and shows LCCB’s affinity for the heavier, malty beers that they excel in.