Monday, August 12, 2013

Cigar City Hunaphu's Imperial Stout

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: Tampa, FL
Price: ?
ABV: 11%
NSP: ?

That's right, it's Hunaphu Day, San Diego style.  BA's #19 beer in the world, and the most sought-after beer in Cigar City's amazing portfolio, released only at the brewery on a single day each year.  And of course, John managed to wrangle some.  I swear, he's like Red in Shawshank, minus the Morgan Freeman-ness. Anyway, the story behind the name involves a mythological Mayan hero, Hun Hunaphu. This fellow was betrayed and sacrificed by the Dark Lords, and had his severed head hung on a tree as a trophy. Apparently decapitation was only a minor annoyance, because he managed to posthumously impregnate a maiden, daughter of one of the Dark Lords, by spitting on her hand.  She gave birth to twins, Hunaphu and Xbalanque, who then went on to defeat the Dark Lords (I don't know if there's an implicit competition with Three Floyds there) and become the sun and moon. How does this Mayan mythology relate to beer?  Because apparently Hun Hunaphu's unattached head was suspended in a cacao tree.  So yeah, the beer's aged on cacao nibs...and ancho/pasilla chiles, and cinnamon, and Madagascar vanilla beans, though I'm not sure how all those other things have anything to do with Mr. Hunaphu.

Inky black, but not as viscous as I'd thought it'd be.  The aroma is about as complex as beer gets.  Every little bit of the ingredients on the label are clearly in there and intricately balanced, and it smells absolutely fucking incredible.  I mean, of all imperial stouts to smell and smell and smell, and then smell some more, this is the one.  I can't speak highly enough of the aroma of this beer, don't think I've ever had anything that compares.

This is...a bit indescribable.  Up front, it resembles Marshal Zhukov (chocolate/coffee/vanilla), with a slightly less viscous mouthfeel, at least as I can recall it.  It's a strong enough flavor punch that you may not notice all the complexities trailing along behind, until your palate gets used to it.  The vanilla's more potent than I remember it being in the Zhukov, which is really nice, because it provides a different sort of richness than the dark malt flavors.  And those late-appearing complexities- the cinnamon and the chiles- they pop up and round off the richness, with a nice little heat persisting until you take another sip.

This beer is everything it's reputed to be.  As I've said many times before, it's a shame that Cigar City doesn't have a wider distribution area, because there's no doubt that they're among the country's finest breweries.  I was wondering if I'd find an imperial stout that'd trump Zhukov, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the beer that does it is made by the same folks.  There's no doubt in my mind that this deserves is place among the lords of imperial stouts, along with the Parabolas and the Abysses and the KBS-s.  Just absolutely, scale-defining delicious.
Just thought I'd include this to show that John brought some of Hunaphu's friends along.  The first person to correctly identify all three compatriots gets...absolutely fuck all.

1 comment:

  1. Hunaphu's rocks, aroma great, taste so smooth

    (1) Murda'd Out Stout?
    (2) Avery Uncle Jacobs
    (3) Moloko Milk Stout