Monday, February 25, 2013

Aztec Noche de los Muertos Imperial Stout

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: Vista, CA
Price: $7.99/22oz
ABV: 10.2%
NSP: 8.28

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Just a few nights after my Czar review got bucked by a hefty ABV, I decided to get back in the saddle with another imperial stout.  Glutton for punishment, I suppose.  Though this one's a diet beer relative to the Czar, just a stately 10.2%.  Apparently it's brewed with whole cinnamon sticks, which gives me hope that this might end up with a whole Mexican chocolate sort of thing going on.

Smells pretty delightful, nice and rich with a bit of a hop twang and some good depth with the cinnamon and a touch of vanilla.  It really makes me think a sprinkle of cayenne might be interesting in it...maybe I'll try that at the end.

Wow, that's pretty damn good. It's got a nice hefty down-the-middle stouty foundation.   The cinnamon's there, and it's tasty, but I feel like it's sort of fighting with the alcohol (though that's not to say the booze is overpowering like it was in the Czar- it's right at the proper level- noticeable but not ruinous).  If they'd intended it to be anything more than a light accent flavor they probably should've boosted it a bit.  I'd expect as the beer warms it'll gain steam.  But even with the cinnamon muted, this is a really nice beer that'll hit pretty much every facet of whatever stout craving you're having.

A lot of new breweries stumble out of the gate, but judging by this and Sacrifice, Aztec seems to have their ducks in a pretty tidy row.  Not bad, folks.

P.S. The cinnamon does amplify as it warms.  Probably would've helped if I'd remembered that imperial stouts shouldn't be consumed directly out of the fridge.  But it still never quite becomes anything more than a pretty delicate accent.

P.P.S. I added a pinch of cayenne to the last ~4oz of beer, just out of curiosity.  It did add a nice bit of heat, which I enjoyed a lot.  But of course, the cayenne just floats on top of the beer, so it never really integrates or adds much flavor, which I suppose should've been expected.  And it makes the beer gritty, which is kind of awful.  Oh well.

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