Style: Spiced Imperial Stout
21st Amendment Brewery El Camino (Un)Real
What the brewers say
“At 9.5 percent ABV, El Camino (Un)Real has a firm bitterness and malt complexity with licorice, vanilla, and higher alcohol esters. The incorporation of indigenous ingredients includes the addition of dried mission figs, pink peppercorns, fennel, and chia seeds that together add a slight herbal, fruit, and spice notes built to pair with the malt and hops complexity.”
What our panel thought
Aroma: “Sweet and fruity, with vanilla, herbal soap, mild earthy hops, and cedar. Light roasted malt, with some chocolate and just a hint of roast. Fruity and phenolic, with dark cherry, citrus, and esters of stone fruit and dried cherry. Getting some grassy, almost vegetal aroma, with smoke and plastic.”
Flavor: “Tastes like more of a brown ale than a stout, although the alcohol is too big for a brown ale. Roasty dark chocolate, caramel malt, mild roast, and light bitterness. Strongly phenolic, with smoke and pepper, and maybe a touch of chlorophenol. It’s sweet and strong, and the spicy alcohol is quite warming, which carries through the finish. Moderate hops flavors, with vanilla, spruce, and herb. Herbal spruce lingers for a long time.”
Overall: “It’s a dark take on the winter-warmer style. It’s quite warming, and the alcohol level lends itself to gentle sipping. It has a nice roast and dark chocolate flavor but has an overly bitter, dry, astringent finish. The phenols are overdone, and it’s difficult to find the base beer here.”
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