The theme for Up From the Cellar for July is a year. 2011 to be specific. Also Imperial Stouts. A favorite style amongst beer geeks and snobs alike. And we start with a barrel-aged Imperial from Firestone Walker.
This 12.5 stout pours jet black with a beautiful espresso rim of foam. That foam quickly dissipates and you are left with impenetrable darkness. The aroma is incredible. This decidedly falls into the camp of beers that you can smell and be satisfied without ever taking a sip. Though you will want to.
This beer spent 12 months in barrels before I even thought about cellaring it. And it shows. Big bourbon and rum notes intermingle. Some coffee bitterness is in the background as well but this is a barrel show.
There is some serious warming here as well. Each sip brings a flare of heat. But it fades quickly allowing for the bourbon and late flavor addition of chocolate and tobacco notes to power through. You cheeks will warm. But they won’t be red. Even when another warming spice sensation emerges as the beer warms up.
The Verdict? – Parabola in all it’s yearly versions, tastes fantastic. The fact that sitting for an additional three years hasn’t changed that, is almost a moot point. Of course it’s gonna taste great. It’s a barrel-aged stout from Firestone Walker. I don’t think that even a rank amateur cellarman could do any appreciable damage to this beer.