Probably not the beer to have with a plate of raw oysters, but some days you just gotta go with it.*
Name: Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
Origin: Great Divide Brewery, Denver, CO
Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
IBU: not listed
I drank this: on tap at Angler’s, Lawrence, KS
GO TO ANGLER’S 😀
Okay. So the beer. The original Yeti is Great Divide’s Imperial Stout. On its own, it’s already a fantastic example of the style. Aged in oak and with chocolate added, it’s sublime.
If you’re not already a stout drinker – if you’re the type that won’t touch a Guinness because you’re worried it’ll be too thick – this is NOT YOUR BEER. This beer pours roughly the consistency of motor oil. It’s incredibly thick and black as pitch with a lovely light chocolate-colored head. In my world, this is all good. Beautiful, really. And if you’re the type of person who thinks a Guinness is thick, this is most likely because you’ve never tried one. Guinness goes down like water.
Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti goes down like the world’s most gourmet chocolate malt.
The beer begins with the scent of warm, black, almost burnt malts underlying a gloriously rich chocolate haze of good things to come. It has a gloriously silky-creamy mouthfeel. It’s like a combination of milk and dark chocolates, warm toasty notes, a sweet hit of alcohol, and a sort of backing piney/herbal hoppiness that rounds it all out. Writing that makes it sound not great, when I think about it, because all the notes in the beginning and then throwing in ‘piney hops’ sounds terrible. Somehow, however, it works beautifully. According to Great Divide’s website, there’s a dash of cayenne in this, which may help it all work. Who knows. It doesn’t taste spicy, just amazing.
The aftertaste is all warm malty chocolate, cozy and happy. Or as my tasting notes put it, “toastywarmcreamyawesomechocolate just. AWESOME.,” which was somewhere along the lines of halfway through the glass. At 9.5% alcohol, you can bet my writing wasn’t exactly coherent by that point. And it was SO WORTH IT.
In my world, I would say skip the food and enjoy this lovely monster on its own as dessert. If you’d like to have food with it, you need to do it with either a gamey, barbecued meat (something savory/smoky/sweet that would stand up to all the flavors here), or with a slice of cheesecake.
*Interestingly, the Great Divide website lists raw oysters as exactly the thing you *should* be drinking with this beer. I think they’re out of their minds. This is why I think food/beer (or food/wine) pairing is something that needs to be determined on an individual basis – what works for person A may not float person B’s boat.