I guess I couldn’t keep the taps closed for too long, although this is by no means a return to regular posting. Let’s just say that I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this excellent group of beers my wife gifted me for this past Christmas (2022).
I think this is the third “beer box” Beer Advocate has curated, following an IPA box and a Lager Box. When my wife saw this on my Facebook feed, she knew she wanted to get it for me since she knows how much I love stouts. I didn’t know what to expect from the beers, although because I’d seen some of the social media posts before Christmas, I knew that at least Oskar Blues’s Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy would be in the box.
Once I received the Punchboard on Christmas morning, I tried to avoid the social media posts from Beer Advocate. My wife played a little game with the beers where I’d select a beer by punching the cup and giving my wife the index card without looking at it. She’d tell me the brewery, but I would have to guess what the flavor/adjuncts and what set the beer apart…if the beer was a Milk Stout or Russian Imperial Stout, if the beer had peanut butter, coffee, or something else; or if it was a barrel-aged stout.
The box arrived mid-January and I finished off the last beer a couple of weeks ago. There was a great mix of high ABV stouts, ranging from 7.2% all the way up to 15%. Quite a few were aged in barrels, quite a few had a peanut butter element, while coffee was another common theme throughout the beers. All were very good, but for the standouts were Revolution’s Dark Mode Barrel Aged milk Stout; maybe the best Milk Stout I’ve ever had; Firestone Walker’s Paraboloid no surprise from these guys Great Notion’s Peanut Brother, maybe the best PB beer I’ve ever had, and perhaps the best “#shelfie” BBA stout, Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues. I appreciated that 10 of these beers I’d probably not have access to other than this beer box.
Without further ado, I’ll give some thoughts on each beer, listed alphabetically.
Eat the Rich (Ghost 1228) | Adroit Theory | Stout – Russian Imperial | 12% | 4 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Very High ABV.
I found this one to be very bitter up front, hints of dark roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate with a slightly sweet finish. This needs to warm to room temperature.
Flux | Barclay Brewing Co. | Stout – Russian Imperial | 13.8% | 4 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: A blend of two big stouts, Barrel-Aging [Buffalo Trace], Tahitian Vanilla Beans; Very High ABV.
I found this beer to be extremely sweet with a copious of vanilla. At 13.8%, I’m kind of glad this one was only in a 12oz can because of how sweet it was, but for a dessert beer for sipping while watching a movie at night, it hit the spot.
Wakeup World Wide Stout | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery I Stout – Imperial / Double Coffee | 15.3% | 4.50 Bottle Caps
What makes it extreme: Barrel-Aging, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Coffee; Extremely High ABV.
I’ve had a few versions of Dogfish’s big Worldwide Stout: Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout, Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout, and the original World Wide Stout , so I was happy to see this in the box. The coffee & cinnamon were the most prominent flavor components and they played together quite nicely. When I drank coffee, I often mixed cinnamon into it, so this hit the right flavor buttons for me and did NOT feel like 15.3%.
Gravastar Stout | Ecliptic Brewing | 7.2% | Stout – Imperial / Double | 3.75 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Peanut Butter and Chocolate.
The oatmeal gives this beer a comfortable smoothness. There’s also and prominent roast element in the beer, but very little peanut butter and chocolate.
Coconut Drip | Finback Brewery | Stout – Imperial / Double Pastry | 11% | 4 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Coconut, Peanut Butter, Vanilla Bean and Coffee; High ABV.
This happened to be the first beer I had from the box and it was a good start and foundation for what to expect. Quite a few adjucnts in this beer, but they work well together. There’s slightly more peanut than coconut, otherwise good balance w/dry finish.
Paraboloid (2022) | Firestone Walker Brewing Company | Stout – Russian Imperial | 15% | 4.25 Bottle Caps
What makes it extreme: Double Barrel-Aging: 14 year Old Fitzgerald bourbon barrels and 18 year Sazerac rye whiskey barrels, Extremely High ABV.
I was thrilled when I pulled a Firestone Walker card from the punchboard, I love their barrel-aged beers and this one does not disappoint. The bourbon is prominent, but not overpowering given high the ABV. Overall the beer has elements of oak, vanilla, bourbon, hints of chocolate. Even with the barrel-aging, the beer retains the hallmark RIS elements.
Peanut Brother | Great Notion Brewing | Stout – Imperial / Double Milk | 9.5% | 4.5 Bottle Caps
What makes it extreme: Peanut Butter, Lactose, Moderately High ABV.
Some peanut butter beers don’t use real peanut butter, or at least they taste like the peanut butter does in a stale Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Just the opposite with this beer, the peanut butter is *perfect* and is complemented quite nicely by the lactose. This was probably the best peanut butter beer I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.
Black Daruma | Japas Cervejaria | Stout – Russian Imperial | 11% | 4 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Persimmons, High ABV.
I can’t say that I’ve ever had persimmon, let alone would even think to make a beer with the fruit. But here we are and this was maybe the most interesting beer of the 12 in the box. The persimmon balances out the aggressive and expected hops of the style without hiding it. Interesting and tasty.
Barreled Treasure – Spirit Hound | Odell Brewing Co. | Stout – Imperial / Double | 12% | 3.75 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Barrel-Aging, High ABV.
Prominent barrel character and roasted malt characterize this beer. It was fine for what it was.
Barrel-Aged Ten FIDY | Oskar Blues Brewery | Stout – Imperial / Double | 12.5% | 4.5 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Barrel-Aging, High ABV.
I’d had the regular TEN FIDY in the past and I thought it was fine, if a little more bitter than I expected. This beer…damn was on another playing field. There were hints of coffee, vanilla, and oak that I enjoyed quite a bit. What surprises me is that this is a beer I’ve been seeing on shelves for years and overlooked it, shame on me because this is one of the better nationally available barrel-aged stouts regularly available.
Dark Mode | Revolution Brewing Company | Stout – Imperial / Double Milk | 13.8% | 4.75 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Barrel-Aging, Lactose, High ABV.
Revolution is nationally recognized for their barrel-aged program, their beers sell out quickly on Tavour so I was hoping one of their beers would be in this box. The beer name is spot on because Dark Mode is one of the darkest beers I’ve ever had. The bourbon-barrel aging and lactose are perfect together, this is hands down the best Milk Stout I’ve ever had. I only wish more of Revolution’s barrel-aged beers were available in New Jersey.
PB Fusion Technique | Weathered Souls Brewing Co. | Stout – Imperial / Double | 3.5 bottle caps
What makes it extreme: Coconut, Brownie Fudge, and Peanut Butter.
This beer had the thickest (Thicc as the kids say) of any beer in the box, but goddamn was it sweet. Considering the beer has coconut, brownie fudge, and peanut butter that wasn’t surprising. For me, it was just a little too sweet and maybe too much going on in the beer, but I did wind up enjoying it.
All told, this was a fantastic group of 12 beers, just about all of which I’d seek out again and some of them happened to be the best of their specific style I’ve ever had.