In the pursuit of perfect homebrew, failure still makes beer.

Samuel Adams Barrel Series, Special Tasting: 13th Hour Imperial Stout

The fabled Sam Adams Barrel Room, Tun #1

I was lucky enough yesterday, thanks to the folks at Pintley, to draw a chance to attend a private release party for Sam Adams tentative new offering, 13th Hour Imperial Stout. I say “tentative” because they don’t know how or when it will be released yet. I got to zip over to the Sam Adams Brewery today after work for this event, and what a fantastic event it was.

The 13th Hour Imperial Stout is a funky derivation on an “old” standby, the imperial stout. After talking to Andrew, a staff brewer at Sam Adams, I gathered that they decided in order to round out the bitterness of the usual recipes of a stout, they would add something funky to it: Brett and Lacto. Oak barrels purchased from Portuguese spirit-makers and stacked away in the Barrel Room, a room that is almost never opened to the regular tourists (but boy am I a lucky man!), were borne with these brewer’s magic creatures to sour the beer. Multiple batches of the Imperial Stout Recipe were aged for periods of time and blended together for the idealized flavor profile, and 140 BBL of the brew was kept under lock and key.

After having the opportunity to taste this bewitched brew, I have agree that the Brett and Lacto souring flavors added an interesting dimension to the stout, laying solidly on the palatte in front of the characteristic bitterness and dark, fruity, coffee malt flavor; this sour tinge gave a new angle of enjoyment to a style that is already one of my favorites. It’s definitely not a beer for everyday drinking, but it’s a great piece of brew to share with friends, and paired nicely with the sharp cheddar, the dark chocolate, and the salted caramel belgian waffles (yep, that’s right, be jealous) they offered free with the release party.

A sample cup of 13th Hour, so funky it sounds like an Earth, Wind, and Fire "Best Of" album.

Apart from the beer tasting, we were able to cast our vote for one of two unreleased beers from Sam Adams, an Oaked Amber or a Maple Pecan Porter. The voting has been going on  since the spring, and will end in October, and the winner will be offered as a component of the Winter Variety Pack. I personally voted for the Maple Pecan Porter, but I was told that the Oaked Amber has “gathered a large following” already and will probably win.

The choices for "People's Taste" or something... whatever, it was free beer.

We also took some silly pictures in the Biergarten.

Hop vines stripped clean of their wares

Quite tasty, old chap, cheerio!

Trying to sneak *out* of the Biergarten? What a lunk.

All in all, every little bit the experience I was looking for! Thanks again to Pintley for the heads up!


2 responses

  1. My friend told me about this, but I had to work that night. Now I might have to get down to the Brewery to pick some up.

    I definitely went with the Maple Pecan Porter myself. The Oaked one did nothing for me.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

  2. I was just back in Boston this weekend. I wish I could have checked out the Boston Beer Company or Harpoon while I was there! Just simply ran out of time! maybe next time. Coincidentally I wrote an article on my sour Brett/Lacto stout that i soured with Jolly Pumkin bottle dregs here: Check it out when you get the chance and by the way my sour stout tastes phenomenal! Good write up by the way!


    October 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

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