International Stout Day - Stout Round-up!

November 8th is International Stout Day.  The boys and I sat down to review a few stouts and make some chow for each other.  The idea of this post, like our Fall Beer Round-up and our IPA Day post, is based around three members of the OBC sampling a few stouts and jotting down our overall opinions on them.  This will hopefully help you find a stout to enjoy on this fine day.

Microbrasserie Charlevoix - La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout - 500mL, 9%

Purchased at the LCBO for $5.35/bottle. 

Nick - Perfect level of roastiness in the nose and flavour.  Chocolate notes balance incredibly well with roasted malt characteristics.  I defy you to find a better, more balanced imperial stout. 5/5

Matt - Love the creaminess.  Booziness up front, creaminess mellows it out immediately.  This puts me in my happy place.  Overall, absolute fantastic milk stout, I haven't had better. 5/5

James - Heavy booze in the nose, smells like creamy milk chocolate, good roastiness.  It all carries very well into the flavor, incredible balance overall.  Creamy mouthfeel, nice coating.  This is near the top of the list for imperial stouts for me. 5/5

Mill Street Brewery - Cobblestone Stout - 440mL, 4.2%

Purchased at the LCBO for $2.90/can.

Nick - Definitely smell oats, no other aromas to speak of.  Flavour is more roasty than it is chocolaty, very little sweetness, delivers the bitterness in a pronounced way.  Very light smokiness at the end.  Unfortunately with how the craft beer market is, this is an unremarkable stout.  3.5/5

Matt - Very oaty.  No sweetness, as the bitter finishes there's almost a bit of tartness.  Nothing really to counteract the bitterness.  Bitterness feels burnt, lingering in the aftertaste.  As a stout, it doesn't disappoint, nor does it raise the bar.  3.5/5

James - Very light roasted grain in the nose.  Hollow, almost watery mouthfeel with a bit of creaminess.  Burnt malt characteristics are very strong with a burnt coffee, bitter aftertaste.  This is an average stout that I'll usually keep a can of when I'm not feeling adventurous.  3/5

Nick - Love the look.  Foamy head is very iconic, you can tell this is Guiness.  Very roasty, smooth and creamy.  This stout is sessionable in the finest sense of the word.  3.5/5

Matt - Visually appealing, solid head, no break.  Chocolate and honey sweetness in the nose, but none in the flavour.  Grainy sweetness comes through in the aftertaste.  4/5

James - Great aroma, very subtle blend of chocolate sweetness with roasted barley.  Very smooth and creamy, roasted - almost burnt - malts.  The mouthfeel is really what does it for me with this, I feel that is the defining trademark of Guiness more than the appearance.  This will always have a special place in my heart (Irish carbombs anyone?) 3.5/5

Les Brasseurs du Temps - Obscur Désir Imperial Stout - 750mL, 9%

Purchased at Marché Omni in Gatineau, roughly $11-12/bottle.

Nick - So chocolaty, so roasty.  It's like so roasty, so roasty, wow.  (I told you that was going to be written verbatim, Nick.)  That is an incredible mouthfeel - like drinking motor oil (said in a positive manner.)  This is an imperial with a capital IMP.  The alcohol burn is strong but not overpowering, compliments sweetness very well.  I really enjoy this stout, it's what I have come to look for in an imperial.  4.5/5

Matt - Ton of chocolate in the nose.  Very boozy.  Have to say, I'm not a fan.  Too much booziness, alcohol drowns out the rest of the beer.  As a compliment to a dessert, it's excellent (we're having some tuxedo cake with it) but on it's own the booziness is just too much for me.  3.5/5

James - Beautiful black, oil-like appearance with a nice dark brown head.  Like the other two boys, I get a huge amount of chocolate in the nose with some oatmeal undertones.  Carries over well into the flavour with some good booziness.  This is an awesome chocolaty imperial stout, another chart-topper for me. 5/5

La Chouape - Oatmeal Stout - 500mL, 5.2%

Purchased at Broue Ha Ha in Gatineau for $5.79/bottle.

Nick - Nice mouthfeel, not tasting a whole lot.  Getting roasted bitterness and subtle sweetness.  Hollow, weak.  Would drink again, just no fireworks.  3.5/5

Matt - Very grainy nose and flavour.  Extremely basic, needs more of everything.  Very light mouthfeel, no complexity in the flavours. 3/5

James - Huge burnt grain up front, watery/hollow through the middle, burnt bitterness in the end and aftertaste.  Not as full, hearty or complex as I would expect from an oatmeal stout, but still decent.  3/5

We did have a sixth stout to sample, and we were going local, but unfortunately the growler shattered in Nick's car on his way over.  This sixth stout was to be Beyond the Pale's Darkness.  While we didn't sample it this night, I can attest to it being a solid stout and worthy of trying. 

Highlight of the Night:

Nick: La Vache Folle.  It goes without saying.  That #$%^ is amazing.  It's such a complex and well-balanced beer.  It's very rare that you find something that has so much going on, and it does it so well.

Matt: La Vache Folle.  No question in my mind, highlight of the night.  It outshined all the others on every aspect.

James: I'm going against the grain here.  While La Vache Folle was amazing, the BDT Obscur Désir was just purely and unequivocally epic.  It's everything I look for in an imperial stout.

And there you have it: stout, stout and more stout.  Plenty of options to choose from with so many more out there!  Go forth and drink some delicious black gold and return to tell us all about it. 

Thanks for reading, 

-James, Nick and Matt