10 Tons of Iron

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I had the distinct pleasure of sampling another of ATK-Contributor Sopor's beer from Mt. Pleasant Brewery: Steam Engine Stout. I count myself lucky that a real pro shares his beers with me. He asks merely for an honest review.
The beer promises much through its appearance: a deep opaque black poured lazily into my pint glass, leaving sticky wine-like legs down the sides as it poured. The beer took-on a coffee complexion; dark black with russet-brown highlights. The head was a cappuccino-tan, thin, dissipating quickly but leaving patches of that tan head across the top of the beer.

The aroma held as much promise. The first to hit my nose was chocolate, fading immediately to roasted malt and coffee. As it warmed up, it took on a slight molassesy-sweet character and a touch of an alcohol burn. Very inviting stout, completely unintimidating.

The flavor started with a baked bread and roasted coffee theme, adding a hint of bitter chocolate and a little smoke. Though those flavors were present, they were thin. Under a veil of astringency and grain husk, they were a little more difficult to discern. But despite the slight medicinal taste, those flavors were indeed still there and hinted at a beer with huge potential to be a go-to beer.

The mouthfeel was a tad watery-thin, but had a slick oiliness that reminds me of my favorite Brit porters. The carbonation level was perfect; enough to clean my tongue between quaffs but not too much to sting or too little to fall flat.

All in all, the beer is drinkable. Its flaws ae not fatal nor are they insurmountable. As I said above, this beer really wants to be a go-to beer in my fridge. Maybe an oxidation issue, maybe a malt profile issue to boost the body a bit. I will drink this beer again as-is, and I know Colin seeks only to improve!

Thanks again...


Mike 6:46 PM  

Wow. A pleasure to read an ATK review of an ATK brew.


Sopor, is this beer really produced by a brewery?

Bob 9:51 PM  

It’s definitely a brewery and Col…er Sopor is working there. (A point of ATK pride I might add.)


Mountain Town Station Brewing Co. in Mt. Pleasant, MI brewed this fine concoction. I appreciate Smittys honest overview.

Now I will return to my New Holland, Dragon’s Milk, which has provided the finest buzz I have ever had when not out on the town.

Sopor 11:23 PM  

Hmmmmm yummmy Dragon's Milk, I love that stuff!!

Yup, I help brew up here in Mt Pleasant. However... Bob, I have to make one correction; technically this beer was brewed by the Mt Pleasant Brewing Company, not Mountain Town Station. These two companies are separate legal entities, but we brew the same beers on two separate brew-systems. Legality required that the company bottling and distributing beer be a different company (because Mountain Town Station possesses a liquor license).

The only reason I point this out is that we have always had a little difficulty keeping the images for the two companies separate, and I want you guys at least to know the whole story.

And it's cool, you can call me Colin =)

To the review though... I've always asked Smitty for one thing; honesty. He actually asked me if I wanted him to not post this review before it went up... I told him to post it, I want to know what he thinks.

And I don't think there's any way I can disagree with him. Hopefully though, some changes we're in the midst of will have an impact here. Today we had installed a nice fat carbon filter for our water. Up until now, we've been using straight Mt Pleasant City Water, and while it's not horrible... I wouldn't brew with the city water! While this won't affect the mash/sparge Ph directly (which is the first thing I think of to check when Smitty says astringency and grain husk), it might have an impact here. I am slightly surprised about the body thoughts... while I've never though of this beer as being thick, I've definitely felt it was "full" at least... I'm going to have to think on this one! Different mash, maybe some more wheat... decoction? Hmmm... I wonder how in the hell I would do a decoction with 1000lbs of grain...

Thanks Smitty! I always like to hear what you think!

Sopor 9:10 AM  

heh... let me just make it clear that I'm just apprenticing at the brewery for the moment, so I really have no say in recipe development, but perhaps will someday.

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