Beer League @ TWR: Schlafly Irish Extra Stout

Holy schmoly, Beer League. It looks like the weather has shifted in that oh-so-famous St. Louis fashion and we’re gonna get some more snow. Have no fear, we selected the perfect beer to go with this snow – a bigger beer, bigger flavor. The snow plow of brews. Schlafly Irish Extra Stout.

Straight from the Schlafly website, they describe their Irish Extra Stout as:

Our Irish-Style Extra Stout amplifies the traditional drier versions from Ireland for a bolder, black brew.  The addition of both roasted barley and Dark Crystal malted barley give Extra Stout undertones of chocolate, molasses and dried fruit.  The beer is generously hopped with East Kent Goldings to balance the sweetness from the malted barley.

Extra Stout is a descendent of the British and Irish porters of the 18th Century.  These strong porters eventually became known as strong stout, then Foreign Stout or Extra Stout, depending on origin.  Extra Stouts were exported world-wide, gaining popularity in the West Indies, Africa and parts of Asia.

That’s all well and good – but you need to know 8% is what I mean when I say big beer. This is a beer fortified for a snow day. Or snow week. Hell, I could be snowed in for a day with a half barrel of this stuff and not really care. I could do lots of things with a half barrel of this stuff and not care. Because I have a half barrel of delicious, rich, Irish Extra Stout.

Beer Advocate brings the aggregate score in at 87 for IES. The top review has it at a 4.85/5 and the reviewer says:

Okay, here’s the thing: I like Guinness. I really do. I just don’t love Guinness. If it’s what’s available and nothing else of note is, I’ll pick it up – if not, I probably won’t. When I was 21 – in 1990 – I was willing to drive halfway across the state for it but now that I’m older and I’ve had so much quality beer, it seems a bit bland.

This beer reminds me what it was like to be 21 again. It’s like everything I thought Guinness was then, but doubled to match my older, more cynical palate.

Nice, clean stout appearance: black body, thick brown head. fine lacing. Smell is light toasted, sweet malt. Like Guinness, but stronger.

Taste: Sweet but not cloying, tasty finish to malt, late bitterness. Again, just like a stronger Guinness. Silky, ultra-drinkable mouthfeel. Smooth drinking. Easy to get into trouble with this, it’s so smooth and easy, despite the 8% ABV.

I’ve enjoyed every Schlafly product I’ve ever had – the Pale Ale is perhaps my favorite APA. This, however, is a revelation. All the solidity of an Imperial Stout whilst maintaining the mouthfeel, body, and character of a dry Irish.

Now, the other side of the Beer Advocate coin is the low score, which kicks in at 3.06/5 and calls in the compensatory “bad batch” card to try and offset their less than stellar review of the beer. It’s possible that the reviewer just doesn’t like it. Like a fool. LIKE A FOOL:

A – Dark brown, almost black. No head whatsoever, and almost no lacing to speak of.

S – Metallic, almost soapy, no hop presence to speak of.

T – Malty, but unremarkable. Cant taste the hops whatsoever.

M – Soda-like, seemed very highly carbonated.

D – It didn’t make me want to reach for another one, but there was nothing objectionable about it either.

I am a huge fan of Schlafly, but this was a disappointment. The first Schlafly I had that I wasn’t knocked over with. Bad batch, perhaps?

Even Rate Beer brings this in at 96 for reviewers score, and 100 for style, so I’m saying that the dude from BA either got a bad batch or hates flavors.

NEW BELGIUM TAKES OVER BEER LEAGUE!

Next week, NBB is taking over Beer League. We’re doing on darn-tootinest to make sure they bring in some stuff not often seen in our part of the Country – and maybe a sour or two. Make sure you RSVP on the Facebook Event so NBB knows how much we love them, and that dammit, we really do want to see some sours and strangeness. Comment on the page with your favorite NBB – and what beers you’d like to sample and we’ll try and get smoething together in addition to the awesomeness they’re already truckin’ in.

Just don’t mention Eric’s Ale. We know that it’s delicious, and we’ve heard a rumor that they’re going to make another run of it, but it breaks our hearts every time we think about that damn amazing beer and what it did for our palettes and exploring new beers. We miss it too, friends.

CHILI COOKOFF 5000

It’s chili cookoff time again, folks, and this time we’re coming back with a vengeance. New voting system. New timelines. Mandatory chili tastings. A chili chair that we’ll strap you into and force-feed you delicious, hot, spicy chili until you burst like a beany Violet Beauregarde full of delicious chili. Ok, that’s not true.

Have your chili ready by 7. Tasting runs til 8. Winner announced by 9pm. As always we’d rather ask you to respect the system and not tell people your chili and which to vote for, which kinda makes you a butt and ruins the fun of crowd-favoriting a chili – but if you decide to be a butt, we have a new anti-butt-voting-rigging-schema that will be in effect this year. This isn’t a popularity contest, it’s a chili cookoff. ‘Cause if it was a popularity contest, Scotty would win even if he didn’t enter a chili. And Rothweil would lose by default, because Rothweil.

So that’s the gist – we’ll see you tonight for an Irish Extra Stout. Brave the weather, it’s worth it. All 8% of it.

Posted in Beer League.