A Little Pick-Me-Up

Friday, October 31, 2008

I was throwing some beers back last night at a local favorite watering hole that carries 10 different Michigan brews and another 6 micros from all over the place. As I was quaffing a pint of Founders Harvest Ale (great offering this year...), I spied the label on the tap: Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, MI) Perkulator. It's a coffee doppelbock.

Today's review is going to be uncharacteristically lacking in hyperbole. You see, I had a whole heaping ton of Perkulator last night.

The bartender handed me a glass of a hazy russet brown/chestnut beer with a thick, foamy off-white head. She wasn't exactly reverent as she handed it to me, but she did a good job of not sloshing any beer out of the glass. I appreciated that.

The armoa was all coffee. Underneath all that coffee was your standard doppelbock: chocolate, bread, malty-sweet malted milkball kinds of aromas). I was skeptical of whether the coffee would go well with the chocolatey-sweetness and malty richness of a doppelbock, but I got the impression of coffee-with-my-coffeecake as I whiffed the lovely brew, so yeah, I guess that kinda works!

The taste is a much more balanced blend of flavors than the aroma let on. The coffee mixed with the doppelbock flavors created a coffee-with-cream impression, which while I don't usually put cream in my coffee, I'll make an exception in this case. The malt profile of the Doppelbock is excellent. It wasn't overly-roasty or chocolatey, but balanced. Great molasses taste as well, which really added to the coffee-and-cream feeling. It finished sweet but had a great coffee bitterness to provide a balance to that sweetness. As appropriate, the hops are virtually non-existent. Anhy bitterness came from the coffee and the roasted malts.

The body was great for a Doppelbock: full-bodied but not cloying. The coffee flavors mixed-in really added an impression of a thicker body but, again, cut that cloying sweetness out of it.

Overall, this was a solid offering from this creative brewery. A coffee Doppelbock satisfies two of my vices at the same time, which rates pretty high in my book. Also, kudos for creative use of the historically-appropriate usage of the "-ator" suffix in doppelbocks.


Sopor 2:52 PM  

DH had this on tap last fall when I was down at the brewery... I didn't try it at the time because I wanted fresh Crooked Tree, and I think I thought that Perkulator was stronger in alcohol than it perhaps really is... any guess on the ABV of this one?

And this has me thinking too... I wonder what coffee with malt extract instead of sugar would be like? I don't use sugar in my coffee, only cream, but it has me curious...

B Mac 5:20 PM  

IMO, Dark Horse has always been very creative. They bring some wicked beers to the Beerfest every year. If memory serves, they brought a TIPA a few years back that smacked my soul in the balls... but in a good way.

I haven't tried Perkelator, but I may have to.

Mike 6:34 PM  

I'm halfway through Friday night bomber No 1: this year's Stone Vertical Epic (08-08-08).

A solid, typically hoppy & malty offering from Stone. A bit more alcohol bite than I'd normally want, and because of that I'd actually like a bit more hops. But a good un.

But . . . I also have bomber No. 2 in the fridge: a Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. To say I'm curious doesn't quite sum it up.

Smitty 10:32 PM  

b_mac: ...to the Beerfest every year. If memory serves... Whatever, dude. You don't remember anything from beer fests and you know it.

mike: Stone Vertical Epic (08-08-08) I liked it this year, but like you, thought the alcohol burn was a bit aggressive. I am not always a fan of jet fuel beer.

Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout Color me jealous. I want that beer, now.

Smitty 10:32 PM  

Sopor: I wonder what coffee with malt extract instead of sugar would be like

I am trying this tomorrow morning.

Sopor 7:52 AM  

Smitty, do tell us how it is!

Mike, I snagged a bottle of the Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal stout last night too! But last night was a night for quaffing many Spaten O'Fests, so perhaps I'll try this gem today or tomorrow.

Mike 9:36 AM  

I definitely liked the Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, especially the first few sips. Good or bad, it really tastes like chocolate. Reminded me of hot chocolate the way they serve it in Europe or South America, where you literally melt a piece of chocolate in hot milk.

That said, I don't know that I'd reach for this one too often. Like Ommegang's Chocolate brew or Rogue's chocolate stout, this is somehow . . . too chocolate, and not enough "beer."

If that makes any sense.

It's delicious and the buzz is nice, of course, but I want to have . . . some hoppiness, some traditional ale maltiness.

I'm doing this no justice, because I liked it, but still. Hopefully Smitty, who actually knows how to write about beer (and knows how to write about beer well) will tackle this, because I suspect he'll have a similar impression.

The comparison I'd make it to Rogue's Mocha Porter, which is just a great beer. Great. Give you that roastiness that I love, and the "chocolate/coffee" thing, but it's unmistakingly a beer.

Smitty 10:07 AM  


Thanks! A high compliment indeed.

So...it looks like I have a mandate for next week's review...

B Mac 10:48 AM  

You don't remember anything from beer fests and you know it.

I should have been more clear. According to the police report and eye witness statements, I enjoyed them a great deal.

Sopor 3:21 PM  

"According to the police report and eye witness statements, I enjoyed them a great deal."

You must have been at the first even Michigan Brewing Guild Winter Beer Fest in Old Town Lansing then, eh?

Smitty, how was the coffee w/malt extract? Did you use dry or liquid?

And Woh Mike, I had not clue the Stone Bitter Chocolate beast was 9.2% Gonna have fun drinking that one! But once again I'm doin' that Spaten O'Fests so it'll have to be another day.

I acn't get enough O'Fest! Until this year, I had NO IDEA how much I liked them! Now if only I could brew a real lager...

B Mac 6:09 PM  

I almost forgot to share my beer review of the week...

I had a bottle of Bell's Cherry Stout, and I almost cried... but not in a good way.

It reminded me of tart, carbonated cough syrup. I have never been disappointed by a Bells brew, but I couldn't finish it. I dumped it out half way through, which I see as un-American most of the time.

Anyone else tried this beer?

Sopor 6:20 PM  

I have tried the Bell's Cherry Stout too B Mac... and I had just about the same reaction. I was drinking it in an attempt to review it, this was about two years ago, and I remember being HUGELY disappointed because not only did I not like it at all, but I couldn't even finish up my review of it!

"I almost forgot to share my beer review of the week..."

You know... you maybe have started something here. Are we to all now respond to Smitty's Grand and Glorious Beer Reviews with our own. admittedly, inferior beer "reviews"? I like the idea...

This Spaten Octoberfest is badass if I do say so. I think only the Bell's has impressed me near as much this year. The Spaten has just the right amount of malt flavor with plenty of "lager" note (kind of sulphury to my palette) and as appropriate, hops are only there to balance. Hmmm hmmm good!

Sopor 6:22 PM  

Damnit I need to use the preview function, especially after 4 6% O'Fests...

Are we to all now respond to Smitty's Grand and Glorious Beer Reviews with our own, admittedly inferior, beer "reviews"?

That's a little better... back to my beer!

B Mac 6:41 PM  

Are we to all now respond to Smitty's Grand and Glorious Beer Reviews with our own. admittedly, inferior beer "reviews"? I like the idea...

As do I... because I need more reasons to drink beer every week. :)

Sopor 7:09 PM  

"because I need more reasons to drink beer every week."

Who doesn't?!?!

(anybody who responds affirmatively will be fondly remembered as a mindless jerk who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes)

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