Aged Chhaang

chhaangChhaang is the refreshingly tart, lightly-alcoholic drink popular in Tibet and Nepal. It seems to be a close relative of rice wine, although it can be made from rice, millet or barley, whatever’s handy. As I understand it, Tibetan chhaang is usually made from rice, and Nepali chhaang from millet. In the “whatever’s handy” spirit I used rice, millet, barley and wheat.

The fermenting agent in the Himalayas is a mysterious ingredient known in English as “yeast balls.” Evidently these are highly revered, and perhaps passed down in the family, though they are said to be available in ethnic grocery stores. I tried to find a source for them through the internet, and a Chinese variety is now manufactured by Toronto’s Onto Yeast Company. A bag sufficient for 10 liters of rice wine—if my simplified Chinese translation can be trusted—costs about $10. Sous Chef also sells a smaller bag online at considerably less cost, depending on where they ship to.

According to my research, Himalayan yeast balls are made with local ginger, grain flour, and water. The ginger is said to have the necessary organisms residing on it’s skin–yeast and Aspergillus oryzae . This fungus is able to convert the starches in grains into sugars without the need to sprout or malt them, and is used to ferment soy beans for tamari, and rice for sake.

I tried mixing shredded store-bought organic ginger with barley flour and water, formed this into cakes and proofed them for 3 days under a damp cloth. I got a smelly mess. I guess the ginger just isn’t the same. Probably too clean for one thing. So instead I steamed some rice, added koji-kin, and made myself a moto starter as I would for sake.

I mixed mold-coated rice with Windsor Ale yeast, known for its estery, fruity contribution to a brew. After three days this starter was nicely soupy, and so I added a culture of two strains of lactobacillus bacteria and let it ferment for another day.

The main mash consisted of malted barley, to which was added pearl barley, millet, rice and dark wheat, all of which had been boiled for 20 minutes in a ginger-root tea. This was mashed for two hours and cooled to room temperature. The moto starter went into the mash soup with all the grains, and fermented for three days.

Traditionally, the mash would at this point be placed in a bowl or mug, warm water poured over, and the drink sipped through a bamboo straining straw. More water would go in until the drink was too weak to continue. Because I wanted to keep the chhaang for a while, I strained it, bottled it, and kept these bottles refrigerated. At this time the chhaang has been aging cold for about 2 years.

Aged Chhaang is a dark creamy color, opaque and has a nice layer of bubbles on the surface. The moto/koji/sake aroma is very prominent. It is very slightly sweet, with a mostly tart flavor. Sugar may be added to taste. Full-bodied and lightly carbonated, it finishes with a mouthwatering tang. I don’t know what Nepalese chhaang tastes like, but this one is certainly an interesting and mildly inebriating beverage. I would be proud to serve it to a visiting yeti.

Oaked Burton Ale

Oaked Burton This is a heavy one, and definitely a keeper. I wanted a barley-wine-style ale that I could age for ten years, to see how it develops. Oaked Burton was brewed in August, 2008, and it’s maturing very well.

My original tribute to the legendary Ballantine Burton Ale, Oaked Burton derives its name from the tincture, made from a half-ounce of home-toasted oak chips soaked in Everclear, which was added to the secondary fermenter. Significantly, this addition boosts the ABV by almost a point, to about 9.4%.

Oaked Burton is a partial-mash brew that is based on Munton light DME. The mash was 2-row pale barley malt, with additions of four kinds of crystal malt, English brown malt, chocolate and black malts, and roasted barley. Burton salts and gray sea salt went into the boiling water. Maltodextrin adds body. To further boost body and alcoholic content, I added Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Malawi demerara sugar.

Hopped with Northern Brewer bittering, Golding flavor and Fuggle aroma varieties, it is only moderately bitter, with the malt components dominating its profile. The excellent White Labs’ WLP023 Burton Ale yeast contributed its uniquely mild fruity character.

Oaked Burton pours a medium brown with hints of gold; almost an extreme amber. It has a tan, long-lasting head that leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty, with hints of oak. The taste is of malt, with caramel, almonds and dark fruit like plum. Roasted grain, oak, and mild alcohol dance in the background. It finishes with a hoppy tang, oaky astringency and an alcoholic warmness.

No one is going to age a commercial beer for ten years these days. The era of the ancient barrel-aged Ballantine is over. But a home-brewer can certainly put a few bottles away for five years, and ten is only double that and well worth the wait–if you’ve got some West Coast Amber to tide you over in the meantime.

Ashwagandha Ale

Ashwagandha Ale Sometimes when I am browsing the web site of an herb merchant, a name strikes me as interesting. At Wild Weeds I came across Ashwagandha root. An intriguing name that sounded rather Ayurvedic, I looked into its properties. It turns out ashwagandha has some well-documented health advantages.

That’s a nice side-benefit, but for my purposes I was interested in the taste. I found that Ashwaghandha tastes quite a bit like ginseng, and indeed, it is sometimes called Indian ginseng. It’s also called “poison gooseberry” because it is a member of the nightshade family, but then so are potatoes. The poisonous alkaloids of these plants are concentrated in the leaves, flowers and stems. Ashwagandha’s taste reminded me of that of another root I had on hand, Astragalus, one of the 50 basic components of traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called huáng qí. I use astragalus in the winter to ward off colds, but here I thought was an opportunity to make an interesting soft drink like ginger ale.

Recipes for ginger ale are pretty common on the web, and they are all very similar. I like the flavor of ginger, but I wanted to add a twist to the usual, by employing my formula for soft drinks that calls for a root, an herb, a berry, an acid, an oil, a sugar, and a juice. I guessed ashwagandha berries were out.

The recipe for Ashwagandha Ale turns out to be rather complex, and in consequence so does the flavor. Starting with a generous amount of freshly grated ginger root, I added ashwagandha, astragalus, lemon, key lime and Seville orange juices, Inca berries, passion flower leaf, and the zest of lemon and Seville orange. Evaporated cane juice provided the sugar, and for additional flavor complexity I included some grape tannin, and finally potassium bitartarate that I had collected by cold conditioning chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc wines.

This is really tasty stuff, and an immune system booster as well! Very aromatic as you would expect a ginger beer to be, but with citrus overtones. The tartness of the citrus juices and berries can carry a lot more sweetness than my usual recipes, without becoming cloying. I only regret that I made just four liters!

Regis X Gruit Ale

Gruit
The first thing to understand is that gruit is not beer as you know it. It might be “beor” but to expect a beverage that tastes like modern beer is to be surprised when first tasting gruit ale.

From Medieval times up until the 1600s “ale” referred to a fermented beverage that used herbs other than hops for flavoring and preservative properties. The term “ale” itself had connotations in those days of sorcery, magic, intoxication. “Beer” was a drink that came from the Low Countries, where the brewers used the flowers of the hop vine to flavor and preserve their malt liquors.

Gruit refers most specifically to a mixture of herbs that were traditionally used to make ale. And as “ale” implies, these herbs were likely chosen first for their inebriating properties. Today, inebriation is usually thought of as “drunk” or “intoxicated.” And while a traditional gruit ale was no doubt brewed to be strongly alcoholic, the herbs infused into the beverage were strongly psychotropic. The number of plants with psychoactive properties runs to the hundreds, so it is no surprise that over time, experimentation came up with some interesting combinations.

All this is to say treat gruit ale with respect. Drink enough and you will get drunk. But you will also get something else–exactly what that is, is hard to say. It’s not “stoned.” It’s not “wasted.” It’s “inebriated.”

The earliest surviving recipes for gruit call for marsh rosemary, sweet gale and yarrow as herbal ingredients. They are used in small quantities compared to the amount of hop flowers typically used in a batch of beer.

The first batch of gruit ale I brewed followed the basic recipe uncovered by the members of The Durden Park Beer Circle in England. The recipe dates from around 1300 AD and makes an ale of perhaps eight percent alcohol or so. It calls for pale and Carapils malts, as an acceptable substitute for the kind of malted barley that was used in Medieval times–a wood-fire-cured product that was probably an amber or even brown color.

This ale was nice, but a bit uninteresting to my palate. I decided that I would do a batch that was quite a bit darker and richer, taking advantage of the caramel and dark malts now available. These were introduced in the case of dark malts after the invention of the drum roaster in 1817, and with the process for producing caramel malts around 1850. I started with 2 kilos of pale malt, 400 grams of crystal malt and 150 grams of Carapils for a 12 liter batch. To these I added Munich malt, bicuit malt and Special B; chocolate malt and roasted barley.

I also took some time to research the many other herbs used for ale-making, and settled on a combination of the previously mentioned three, plus mugwort and heather. One-third of the dose went into the mash, another third into the boil. The final third went into the primary fermenter in a hop sack. I pitched White Labs WLP028 Edinburgh yeast for it’s great performance in malty, strong, complex ales.

The early recipes probably used Ledum Palustre as the “Marsh Rosemary” ingredient–an herb hard to come by. In fact, in ancient times it was possible to pay your taxes with marsh rosemary. For the initial brewing of this batch I substituted the closely-related “Labrador Tea” leaf. I also added a good dose of sweet Sedona juniper berries.

After five days brewing I removed a half-liter of the ale, heated it, and steeped 9 grams of heather flowers in it for 20 hours, strained it and returned it to the fermenter. In a bit of luck, my herb supplier came upon a source of genuine marsh rosemary, and I dry hopped the brew in the secondary fermenter with 10 grams of this.

It’s hard to imagine that gruit ales were originally carbonated, although the term “head,” referring to the foam on top of a glass of beer, is first found in use around 1540. Nonetheless, I chose to carbonate this batch, and put it up in 750 ml swing-top bottles.

The Regis X Gruit Ale is now two years old. It pours a dark brown with a light tan head. The aroma is indescribable for me, as I’ve never encountered anything similar. Herbal of course, piney, woody, perhaps even tangy. It has a moderately heavy body. The flavor is reminiscent of grapefruit, somewhat sour in a citrus way–definitely not lactic or acetic. The finish is quite bitter.

Commoners” that have tasted Regis X have found it interesting and compelling. It is fully a gruit, not beer as we know it. It’s important to gauge consumption carefully. Though it is very tasty, the herbs are definitely psychotropic. The best way to describe the sensation is “Whoa!” Don’t drink more than a pint of it before you know where you’re going.

Scott likes it, and so does his wife Jody. Thanks for the bombers Scott, and bring my swing top back!

Sparkling Meyer Lemonade

Meyer Lemonade
Some recipes are a description of a state of mind. Sparkling Meyer Lemonade is one of those. Meyer Lemonade. To me that recalls the dwarf lemon tree Mom had in the back yard. When we moved to California from Ohio, things like year-round bearing citrus trees were a wonder. Mom said the best tasting lemon was the Meyer, a cross between an ordinary lemon and probably, a Mandarin orange, and that was the variety she planted first.

Mom was right. Cuisinistas like Martha Stewart and Alice Waters discovered the Meyer lemon a while after Mom did. Dad would pick 20 of them, perhaps some time around July, cut them in half, mash them in a bucket, add sugar, ice, water, and a good handful of the fresh mint that also grew abundantly in the wondrous California garden. The aroma was spectacular.

The taste was also refreshing, more tart than the concentrate that came in the six-ounce cans of the day. That thought reminds me of Schweppes Bitter Lemon, a lemon-quinine tang that I came to love perhaps 20 years later than those backyard picnics. Alas, it appears that Bitter Lemon is not made any more. I thought I’d make my own.

First of all, there is the joy of fizz, and that is accomplished using the frozen syrup method for mixing sparkling water with juice and sweetener. Secondly, this recipe furthers the idea that a good soft drink should contain a juice, a root, an herb, an oil, and a sugar.

Sparkling Meyer Lemonade starts with 150 ml of Meyer lemon juice per liter of lemonade. Before squeezing the lemons I peeled the zest from 6 per liter (about 5 grams) and set that aside. The sugar is 100 grams per liter of evaporated raw organic cane juice.

For the root, this recipe has 3 grams per liter of ginger. The herb is 0.3 grams of lemon balm per liter. I heated the juice, sugar, herb, zest, and root to infuse and pasteurize the ingredients, and let them cool for 12 hours. I strained the brew, pasteurized it again, cooled it and dispensed 115 ml of the syrup into each 500 ml swing-top bottle. After I froze these bottles I topped them up with carbonated water, and kept them cold.

This drink is Huckleberry Finn meets Dom Perignon. Aging it in the fridge really makes a difference. Less than 0.3 percent alcohol I estimate, but still full of a richness coming from the raw sugar, the herby, citrus aromatics, the mandarin-meets-lemon flavor and the tingle on the tongue that Huck rarely if ever tasted.

New Creston Barrel Cider

Creston Barrel Cider New Englanders of the 17th and 18th Centuries were known for their consumption of prodigious amounts of rum. Less expensive and easier to come by were large quantities of apple juice, from nearby orchards. But the modestly alcoholic beverage made from fermenting pure apple juice was unlikely to satisfy the jaded palates of the aldermen. Faced with the prospect of imbibing a mere 5% ABV, New Englanders resorted to various adjuncts, including sugar, raisins, molasses, and honey, which, upon fermentation, would raise the alcoholic content of the drink to a more respectable 10 percent or so. This they would age in oak barrels, with perhaps some handfuls of wheat, which would moderate its taste “be it harsh and eager.”

New Creston Barrel Cider is so named because the apples come from the Creston Valley of British Columbia. Creston is known for the wide variety of apples grown there, and this is a key factor in the making of superior cider. When I first started making hard cider I would buy a few gallon jugs of apple juice from the likes of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, pitch some yeast, wait a while, and decide I really didn’t like hard cider very much.

Then I discovered blending. Mixing the juice from several varieties of apples creates the full-spectrum experience that is typical of complex recipes. In the case of hard cider, the blend of juice should include sweet, tart, bitter and aromatic apples. For traditional barrel cider, the sensation of umami can be created with an addition of grapes and grains.

New Creston Barrel Cider starts with a blend of Jonagold (tart), McIntosh (aromatic) Spartan and Gala (sweet) apples. To add umami I took 25 grams of Sultanas and 25 grams of Malawi “Sucre de Canne Brut” per liter of juice, added 12.5 grams per liter of cracked dark wheat malt, and simmered these in South African Muscat grape juice for 20 minutes. I added this mash to the fermenter, and noted that it would make a terrific breakfast cereal!

I’ve recently found that unpasteurized Creston apple juice will ferment nicely with its natural yeast, but it can be a risky proposition with unpredictable results. For this batch I pitched a starter of White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead yeast in malt powder with a little yeast nutrient.

As barrels are a pain to use and maintain, I’ve added barrel flavor to other batches by using French oak chips. For this version I left them out. Instead, when fermentation was complete and the cider well-aged, I added crab apple syrup made with equal parts of crab apple juice and sugar. This gives the cider the tannic, bitter principle of a full-spectrum blend, with a semi-sweet flavor. With three years of aging, it’s a beautiful cider, with a lovely apple aroma, super clear, sweet, yet still tart. The sultanas give it a moderately full body, and the wheat provides a soft finish. Luscious.

Orange Twichell

jigger The concept of full-spectrum fermentation and the incorporation of umami-producing flavor sensations in beverages suggests that these concoctions should be balanced in character. The concentration of complex tastes and aromas exist for each creation in varying amounts depending on the nature of the drink.

Orange Twichell is an example of a fermented beverage that is extremely low in alcohol–so low in fact as to be considered “non-alcoholic” under the law. Actually, it contains something between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent alcohol, and at that level the body metabolizes it faster than it can be consumed.

Naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria live on the skins of fruits, a fact experienced in ancient times when humans felt kind of funny after drinking grape juice that had been sitting around for a while. Oranges, in this case, contain about 0.1 percent alcohol when they are picked, and this rises during the time they are stored.

A couple of years ago in a specialty store I came across an attractive bottle labeled Fentimans Orange Jigger. I bought a bottle and tried it out. It was nice, but expensive. I thought I’d try to make my own. It turned out nice too, and quite a bit less costly. The idea was to create a balanced drink combining sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness and umami.

The ingredient and nutritional labeling for Orange Jigger contains plenty of clues to its composition, and a look at the Fentimans website provided more information. There’s Mandarin orange juice in Jigger, and as I recall Seville orange juice too, although the drink is now described as having Seville Orange zest in it. The label also mentioned ginger, juniper berry, and speedwell. The nutritional information told me how much sugar was in it.

It was enough to have a go at it, and even make some tweaks along the way. My recipe starts with 30 percent fruit juice. The trick to this blend is to wait around until the Seville Oranges and Mandarins come into season, around January or February in the Northern Hemisphere. Mandarins are easier to come by during the rest of the year, but to make Orange Twichell in June I need to squeeze and zest the Sevilles and freeze the result.

The Fentimans website suggests that its beverages are fermented with brewers yeast. I tried brewing with ale yeast and wine yeast for a couple of batches but I found the yeasty flavor overpowering. For my latest batch I tried a different approach. I let the oranges sit in cool storage for a week, then squeezed them and refrigerated the juice for another four days. This resulted in a more subtle flavor change.

I needed a few tries to settle on the right amount of ginger and juniper too. For the ginger about 2.5 grams per liter of finished drink seems about right to me. Raw ginger contains about 2 percent protein, enough to give the umami sensation a bit of a boost. It also contains potassium, for a very subtle salt taste.

The juniper berries are an interesting story. I’ve tried the commercially available ones with success, but the best so far were ones that I happened to have picked in the mountains behind Sedona Arizona, quite on a whim. They’d languished in a bottle in the spice cabinet for 25 years when I rediscovered them. They were still in perfect condition–soft, spicy, and intensely sweet. The piney characteristic of fresh berries had turned into more of a citrus flavor.

The “speedwell” addition took a bit of research. I’d never heard of it, but it turns out to be a common botanical in England. Almost a weed, Veronica Officinalis seems to grow everywhere. I couldn’t get any, but the local nursery had the related ornamental variety Veronica Spicata. I grew some, dried the leaves and used about .25 grams per liter of finished beverage. In the intervening years I’ve tried both and I find the Spicata flavor much nicer.

I took all the ingredients plus organic evaporated cane juice (another source of glutamic acid) and heated the mixture to steep out the flavors, strained out the berry husks, shredded ginger and citrus zest. I reheated it to pasteurize the juice and let it cool. I dispensed 150 ml of the juice blend into each of 20 half-liter swing top bottles and put these in the freezer. When the juice was frozen I topped the bottles up with carbonated spring water. I keep the bottles chilled until I’m ready to serve the excellent results.

A note on the name: If Fentimans has not trademarked “Orange Jigger” they should, as it is a great name. Fentimans says “jigger” refers to an old English term meaning “good measure.” Seeking a name that would suffice while respecting the Fentimans brand, I saw that “jigger” can also refer to an alleyway in Liverpool. In Nottinghamshire an alleyway is commonly called a “twichell.” I liked the word twichell, so there it is!

Northwest Pale Ale

NWPA I picked up a bottle of Deschutes Red Chair NWPA on a trip through Spokane, Washington, intrigued by the nice label art, and by the brewery’s claim to have created the first Northwest Pale Ale. I’ve never had a Deschutes beer I didn’t like, and the neck ring copy–offering a plush, satiny experience featuring “edges out, layers in”–sounded promising.

Tired of in-your-face, over-the-top hop madness, I decided to check it out. I was not disappointed. Eager to join the NWPA trend, I figured the skiing metaphor suggested a beer that turns agreeably, with a smooth ride featuring layers of citrus, tropical fruit and a malty finish. The label mentioned seven European and North American malts. ABV was 6.2%: assertive, but not the alcoholic blast of some of the runinators.

The Deschutes website now offers a recipe for a Red Chair clone, though it is very light on details. There’s only six malts mentioned, and the hops are Centennial and Challenger, not my idea of tropically fruity additions. Last fall I made up my own recipe, and I believe I came up with a version that nicely represents Northwest Pale Ale.

I started with Briess DME plus some Belgian extra dark aroma sugar and dark candi sugar. I steeped six kinds of crystal malt together with touches of chocolate wheat, cara-aroma, cara-pils and melanoidin malt to put a hint of redness in the color. As I was brewing in early September, I had a chance to try out another West Coast innovation: wet hopping. I used freshly-harvested homegrown Nugget, Willamette and Fuggle hops, added continuously during a one-hour boil.

I pitched White Labs’ WLP 090 San Diego Superyeast for this one, because of its clean flavor profile and relatively high attenuation. I wanted an emphasis on malt and hop aromas and flavors, not yeastiness. The beer started at 13 Plato.

After six days I racked the beer into a carboy and added 6 grams of sea salt. Ten weeks later I added 14 grams of Citra pellets to the carboy, and let it rest for a month and a half.

Finishing at 1.25 Plato this is a dry beer with nice overtones of malt and grapefruit. It pours a golden amber with hints of red. A modestly creamy head drops after a few minutes, leaving lacy patterns on the glass. The aroma is dominated by grapefruit to my nose, with a suggestion of passionfruit. Moderate body, a fruit burst on the palate without a full-on hop assault, and a malty finish. I had one after skiing yesterday–well worth the six-month wait!

Audacious Blackguard Double IPA

Audacious

Around 2005 a style of beer emerged from San Diego’s craftbrew scene called Double IPA. Like many things Southern Californian, it’s pretty over-the-top. Soon brewers were doubling down on double IPA, leading reviewers to warn potential drinkers they might be brewed with “a ridiculous amount of hops” or were a malty extravaganza.

Of the San Diego IPAs my favorite so far is Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard. It certainly is an aggressive mouthful, but with a smooth balance like a pool parlor grifter. The label copy suggests “you probably won’t like it” but, as BDSM has taken its place in mainstream culture, so has imbibing in beverages for which “you are not worthy.”

Audacious Blackguard started out as a straight-forward IPA recipe I concocted first in July, 2004. Along with equal amounts of four progressively more-roasted crystal malts, plus a touch of black malt, the light malt base was boiled with a moderate amount of moderately bitter Centennial and Liberty hops. The original recipe was pitched with Irish ale yeast, which gave it a slightly fruity but rather dry-finished flavor. Dry-hopping defines the IPA style, and this one aged on Challenger and Eroica. My first taste was a bit overwhelming, but I realized that it was very much like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.

Spring 2012 I decided to update the recipe. With 12 types of grain and seven hop additions Audacious Blackguard is a salute to its San Diego Roots. But it is very approachable. While it is a nice heavy-in-the-mouth malt bomb, its hop character ranges from piney bitter to flowery citrus. Six weeks of dry hopping with Simcoe and Willamette strains provides the aromatic volatiles.

As a further tribute to my time in San Diego I brewed this version with White Lab’s San Diego Superyeast.

Audacious Blackguard is monstrously malty, with a clean, dry yeast contribution. Finished with a flowery citrus aroma, it’s a nice heavy IPA, very true to the San Diego style. OK, it’s January, good time to check out the north swell at Torrey Pines.

Stout 17

Stout 17abc
In 1973 I was a Gaucho with a taste for good beer, and no money to buy it. Santa Barbara had a store on upper State Street called Wine Art of America. A look inside revealed that they sold the ingredients for beer too. At that time brewing beer was illegal, but buying the makings was not. In fact, since the ingredients were food items, there wasn’t even any tax on them.

The guy in the store was very helpful, and he sold me the ingredients for my first beer, an amber lager made with Vierka Munich Dark Lager yeast. He also sold me a book called The Art of Making Beer by Anderson and Hull. The book was pretty simplistic by today’s standards, but it got me started and fortunately, my first batch was excellent. The recipes were numbered, and I’d made number 1.

Both my dad and I used the book for years, but as others came out over time it got moved to the remote end of the shelf. Last year I picked up a can of Cooper’s Stout malt extract on sale. Thinking about what to do with it I thumbed through the old Anderson book. A lot of memories came back to me. Then I got to the seventeenth recipe. It called for a can of stout wort. It also specified four pounds of corn sugar, a pound of crystal malt and “1/3 stick licorice.” I’d found my inspiration.

Stout 17 starts of course with the can of Cooper’s. Instead of corn sugar it has 900 grams of Breiss DME and 280 grams of Rogers Demerara sugar. For the crystal malt addition I blended six varieties of increasing caramelization. Left over home roasted barley that I’d made for a previous batch went in. Also 50 grams of Hugh Baird black malt.

I had chopped natural licorice root on hand. I also had Paradise seed. I had some Irish Stout yeast. I had my recipe.

Stout 17 uses Challenger hop pellets for bittering and Goldings flowers for flavor. As Irish stouts are low on hop aroma, Stout 17 has no aroma hop addition. This one started at 12 Plato and finished at 2.25. That’s about 82 percent attenuation, making this a very dry stout, with about 5.8% ABV.

It pours nearly opaque black but holding it to the light reveals very dark ruby color. The head is thick, and dark tan. The aroma is of malt, with toasted notes. A very roasty flavor finishes with mild mouth-watering bitterness and an alcohol tang. A very complex, tasty stout!