Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Trip to Capone's

In what has turned into an every other month tradition, Jo and I took a trip to Capone's the weekend before Thanksgiving. I had something to pick up plus there turned out to be a Mikkeller and De Struise event that day. Win win!

I, of course, started off with a sampler of the available special beers.
Going clockwise from the front, I ordered Mikkeller Black Hole Red Wine, Mikkeller Black Hole White Wine, De Struise Black Damnation, and De Struise Black Damnation 4: Coffee Club.

The first two Mikkeller beers are a base imperial stout, Black Hole, which was then aged in red wine and white wine barrels respectively. I started with the red wine version. Sweet nose with a little sour red wine undertone. Flavors started with chocolate, the same red wine sourness from the aroma and roast in the finish. Real strong flavors. Some oak appeared as I drank more and got used to the stronger, more obvious flavors. I liked this one as I felt the red wine flavors mixed well with the chocolate in the stout.

The white wine version was similar but not as good. The differences were all negative unfortunately and dragged it down. Some of the same wine sourness in the nose but more mild. Flavor was more sour than the red, more winey and just really sharp and conflicting. The white wine notes didn't meld anywhere near as well as the red wine and just made it less enjoyable. Jo thought it made sense as chocolate goes with red wine way better than white and the Black Hole base had a lot of chocolate notes in it.

After that I moved on to the two De Struise Black Damnation versions. Like the Black Holes, the base beer is similar but unlike them there are extra ingredients added and not just different barrel aging. Black Damnation, the original, had a roasty, chocolate nose. Tons of dark fruit appeared in the first sip then a ton of coffee notes in the finish. Really interesting imperial stout with the dark fruit being a major player but in a pleasant way.

Wasn't nearly as impressed by the Coffee Club version, however. Enormous black coffee nose led to a really tangy coffee flavor that was slightly unsettling. Sort of like if you left coffee grounds steeping for a long time, then let it sit on the counter. Just sort of bleh. Can't win 'em all I guess.

Once I finished up my sampler, I ordered a glass of the De Struise St. Amatus, a quad.
Unlike De Struise's Pannepot, this one felt way more like a traditional quad. Faint fruitiness in the nose with hints of the Belgian yeast underneath. Sort of an interesting beginning with the Belgian notes, banana and clove, trying to fight their way out but not quite making it. Some pear and apple flavor appeared near the end of the sip. As I drank more, the clove and banana made more of an appearance and it all really came together. Quite a good quad.

So a pretty normal visit to Capone's for us. Wings and some other stuff for lunch, a sampler, and then a finishing beer. The Mikkeller Black Hole variations were quite interesting with some positives and some negatives. There are actually 6 or 7 different barrel treatments and I wouldn't mind trying them all but the bottles are damn expensive so it probably won't happen unless I see them on draft again. The De Struise stuff I've mostly had before though the St. Amatus was a nice surprise. Just a good sampler and a good day. Plus I got my bottle of Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged Naked Evil finally so that's great.

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