Southern Tier Blackwater Series
- Southern Tier Brewing Co.
- Imperial Stouts - Chocolate, Coffee, Cream, Oatmeal, Coffee/Chocolate Blend
- 9.5 - 11.2%
- Can be found in bottles or on tap at various craft-carrying bars, bottle shops, and grocers. ST’s distributor locator isn’t accurate, but Whole Foods or Metropolitan Market branches frequently carry their bottles.
The deep dark volumes of a good stout can contain many delicious possibilities, and Southern Tier covers all the traditional favorites in this series!
Creme Brulee (Vanilla Cream)
Modeled after burnt cream desserts, this milk stout with vanilla bean is on the mild side. It has a great sweet custard smell and a strong vanilla flavor, but stays pretty mellow for an imperial stout. Not exactly bland, or for a lack of volume in the beer’s own base: just as many dark malts went into Creme as the rest of the series. While the other flavors work well as a whole it ends up feeling a bit blunted (in retrospect, it would’ve been great over chocolate or vanilla ice cream).
Conclusion: Not for anyone expecting an especially strong or sweet stout. It’s flavor is very mild, even by the standards of non-imperials, but still good for anyone who likes it that way. It’d probably benefit from a nitro tap, I give it 3.5 out of 5.
A very rich coffee stout that has you inhaling the beans before each sip, with the roast’s character mixing nicely with the main body of chocolate and caramel malts. Sourced from fine Jamaican coffee (Blue Mountain) the bitterness from the roast combines with the malt’s lingering sweetness to hang around for a while, and finishing a glass leaves a pleasant warmth.
Conclusion: Balanced in flavor, yet still strong and potentially overwhelming. I’d recommend letting it age for a bit, though a freshly-bought bottle would be delicious with a few scoops of french vanilla! I give it a 4 out of 5.
Robust and malty, just like chomping into a big block of quality dark! It even has the satisfyingly fuzzy feel-good warmth of finishing off a nice chocolate bar, further enhanced by the tangy hops emulating the coarseness of high-percentage cacao. The bitterness lingers only as long as it has to, and the bottle will probably be empty before it’s gone.
Conclusion: A chocolate stout that gets it right and doesn’t taste like burnt bread. It could go great with richer desserts, like cheesecake or meringues. I give it a 5 out of 5!
Imagine the best mocha you’ve ever had, but with alcohol. You’ll get Mokah.
Brewed with Jamaican coffee and Belgian chocolate, both of them bold and assertive in every sip. The malts pair silkily with the chocolate while the hops give extra crispness to the coffee, and every bit as good as boasted in the brewer’s solicit.
Conclusion: The best balance of the whole series, and the shortest review I’ve ever written. In a good way, 5 out of 5.
If you’ve ever eaten burnt caramel, try to imagine condensing half a gallon of that into a pint over blackstrap with a sprinkling of malt grain. For those who haven’t, Oat is thick and heavy with a high ABV and none of the fluffy character often praised in oatmeals. The malts and grain have almost melted into a syrupy molasses, but the tang from hops quickly sours.
Conclusion: Good, but doesn’t distinguish much from the other super-rich stouts in the Blackwater lineup (like Jah*va). Sample this one before ordering it at a bar, because sits heavy on the stomach and would easily disappoint anyone looking for a lighter or more savory drink. A good beer for sharing or baking (or milkshakes!), 3.5 out of 5.