Friday, July 16, 2010

Founders rare beers; CBS, Black Biscuit, El Diablo Del Noche

After the Crane Alley Founders Beer Dinner, there were some awesome beers that Crane had on tap from Founders Brewing Company. You've probably had their Breakfast Stout, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Porter, and many other of their beers. But, you may have not even heard of the ones that were on tap after the dinner.

If you've had Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and know the story behind it, you know Founders takes a version of their Breakfast Stout, and ages it for a year in Kentucky whiskey barrels. It's an awesome beer. Founders doesn't get all the barrels from the distillery in Kentucky... at least they don't get them all right away. Some of those barrels make a trip up to Canada, where they spend some time holding maple syrup. Then those barrels make the trip down to Grand Rapids.

What comes out of those barrels when they hold the breakfast stout, is an amazing beer. It's black, with a light caramel head. It's an opaque beer. It coats the glass. It smells of alcohol, coffee, roast, and maple. It feels thick, and chalky (which was unexpected). In addition to coating the glass, it will also coat your mouth.

It tastes of dark chocolates, syrup, coffee and had a slight alcohol burn (is that a flavor?). This beer was had several days prior to having the BrewDog's so, I guess I didn't know alcohol yet. As it warmed I noticed a cherry flavor.

This was a great sipping beer. You aren't going to want to try to chug this thing. I don't think I'd be able to drink 16 ounces of this beast. This was a killer beer. I didn't intend to do it, but it got Chipper Dave's burp test, and it was very bitter. The hops weren't noticeable in the smell or flavor, but they did make an appearance in the burp.

Crane Alley received a few of the goblets that you see in the picture, that are inscribed with Founders. Which is a very nice touch for this beer.

The second beer I had that night was the Black Biscuit. This beer was also black, but had a much lighter head. It looked visibly thinner than the CBS. It smelled like sugar, syrup, and chocolate. There didn't seem to be any hops present. It felt thinner than the CBS, but it was still a thick beer. It had some effervescence, but that didn't cut the thickness.

It tasted a little bitter, and also very sweet. I found it hard to describe as I was taking my notes. There was some chocolate, and also coffee. This beer tasted green/fresh. As though it could use a bit of time to develop.

Originally, I thought this beer was supposed to be a Black IPA (which is the new IT style; everyone's making a black IPA it seems). But then found out this is a Black Old Ale. I believe it's something like the Old Curmudgeon that's been made with black biscuit malt. So, it's an Old Black... kind of like Uncle Ben, of the wild rice fame.

Regardless of the expected style, it's a real good beer. Like the CBS, I don't think I'd want to drink much more than 8 ounces at a time.

I had only intended on drinking the above two beers, but then another co-worker showed up, so I had to have another. The third was el Diablo del Noche. This one was a black IPA. I previously had this beer on Dark Lord Day on cask. I didn't take notes then, and I didn't take notes this time. It's a black IPA. So, it's hoppy, with a strong roasty almost coffee flavor. If you can find it, you'll probably like it.

I'm not sure where you'll be able to find these beers, other than at the brewery. They make special appearances for certain events, so if you are looking for them (and if Founders is in your area), call up the brewery and ask for the sales rep, he should know where his kegs are. If you find them, take your time and enjoy them.

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