Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day of Three Floyds

Three Floyds is a brewery located in Indiana.  Their distribution area is very small, mainly only available in three or so states around Indiana.  Apparently they used to be available in Philadelphia but it stretched them too thin so they pulled out of the state a few years ago.  Right now you're probably asking yourself why the heck is Rich talking about a random brewery whose beer I can't even buy?  Well, shut up, that's why.  I'll get to the point when I'm good and ready.

Recently I visited DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY to buy myself a Captain Lawrence gift pack (see cellar sidebar for beers in it) and decided since it seemed to be popular that I'd find someone interested in trading some Three Floyds stuff for one.  After getting my wife's permission (stop looking at me like that), I posted on BeerAdvocate about it and ten minutes later I had everything set up.  I was primarily interested in Dark Lord, a Russian Imperial Stout only available one day a year from the brewery, and so I left it up to my contact, Adam, to provide me with that plus a few other bottles from Three Floyds that he'd pick out.  I ended up with Dark Lord, Moloko, an oatmeal milk stout, Black Sun, an Irish Dry Stout, Dreadnaught, a double IPA, and a bottle of the guy's homebrew Smoked Porter.  So this past Saturday I got together with two friends of mine, Greg and Kevin, to try them all and finally see why everyone loves Three Floyds so much.

If you are familiar with the beer community on BeerAdvocate, then you may already know that Three Floyds is most well known (at least in my opinion as an objective observer) for their Russian Imperial Stout Dark Lord.  It's released once a year at the brewery on Dark Lord day which has become quite the party.  It's been going for a few years and gotten larger every year.  Apparently 2009 was such a terrible mess that last year they sold tickets online with a ticket giving you the ability to buy 4 bottles.  As such, it's only possible to get a bottle if you're there or you trade for it.  Once I started becoming more obsessed with beer, this was one I really wanted to try.
Poured a thick, viscous black with quite a bit of bubbly brown head.  Very pretty pour even splitting it into three glasses.  Nose was very sweet with a little bit of soy sauce saltiness to it.  Throughout my sample I got quite a bit of chocolate and vanilla with some caramel sweetness and a little more of the saltiness.  It's brewed with coffee but I honestly didn't get much of it.  Maybe that's where the saltiness is introduced but I don't know.  Very smooth mouthfeel and not a hint of the 15% ABV.  I can see why people like this as much as they do even from the little bit I had.  While I would be drunk after, I could easily drink a bottle of this in an evening.  It was incredibly smooth and very well balanced.  I can see the soy sauce / salty flavor turning some people off, but I thought it mixed very well with the chocolate and vanilla.  All in all, it lived up to its hype for me.  This was the second bottle for both Greg and Kevin and they both enjoyed the first so they were both happy to have another to sample.

After that, we opened the Moloko thinking we'd work our way through the heaviest stouts on the way to the Dreadnaught.
Really random label on this one.  Honestly all of the labels were just bizarre and if you went to their website you'd see they apparently really like bright colors.  The Moloko had a decent bit of sweetness with some roast in the aroma.  Basically smelled as sweet as the Dark Lord but without the saltiness.  Initial sip had a lot of sweetness from the lactose sugar finishing with a very pleasant roastiness.  Flavors are very balanced and continue to please throughout the glass.  Decent mouthfeel and body.  I really enjoyed this one as did Johanna.

Following that, we took a break from the Three Floyds stuff and poured Adam's homebrew, the Smoked Porter.
Decent looking beer on the pour, nice full head.  All smoke in the nose and taste followed.  It basically tasted like a fireplace.  Greg and Kevin had a similar reaction.  The issue, I feel, was in two parts.  The smoke was a little heavy and the base porter didn't have enough flavor.  As a result, all you got was smoke which in heavy quantities can definitely be too much.  Good try though.

Following that was the Black Sun.  I don't particularly care for the Irish Dry Stout style so to be honest I wasn't expecting much from this but boy was I surprised.
Huge hop nose with lots of pine.  Already a very interesting start for a stout.  Initial sip had a lot of citrus, some roast and a bunch of sweetness.  No bitterness in the finish.  As I drank more the pine notes from the hops started appearing alongside the citrus but there was never any bitterness.  Very good beer and if more Irish Dry stouts were like this, I'd be much happier with the style.  Even with the hoppiness, Jo enjoyed this one as well.  Three Floyds classifies this as a stout, but I definitely feel it could be in the Black IPA category.

Finally, we come to Dreadnaught.  Greg was really excited when I told him this was in the box as he really enjoys double IPAs and had heard great things about this one.
Note that this is the first beer that isn't pitch black.  I had my favorite style set to stouts when I set up this trade so Adam may have based his choices on that.  Who knows but it certainly didn't bother me.  Dreadnaught had even more hops in the aroma than Black Sun and these smelled like grapefruit instead of pine.  Flavors follow starting with grapefruit hoppiness and then some sweetness from the malt backbone.  Slightly bitter finish but not unpleasant as it's expected in this style.  The most interesting thing about it was the mouthfeel as it felt even thicker than the Moloko from earlier.  Pretty different for a double IPA.  I was reading a little about this after writing that paragraph and people mentioned it smells like pineapple.  I'm curious if I'm biased towards grapefruit just because it's the most obvious bitter fruit.

Pretty great day at Greg's house and I really enjoyed finally getting to try some stuff from Three Floyds.  While the Dark Lord was my favorite of the day, the Moloko wasn't too far behind.  I love a well made milk stout and at 8% this one was basically an Imperial.  The other two were also really quite good and I definitely get the hype behind the brewery.  Man, beer is just the best and trying new stuff is always fantastic.  So happy with Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Good times. Thanks for lining this trade up and sharing.

    I liked the Black Sun a lot more than I expected to as well.