Review: Forked River - Weendigo Imperial Stout

Weendigo Imperial Stout

Brewery: Forked River Brewing Company

Location: London, Ontario

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 10.2%

Available at: LCBO

About the brewery: Forked River is a newer brewery out of London, Ontario. They've only recently extended their reach to us here in Ottawa through the LCBO with two beers: today's review and their Riptide Rye Pale Ale.  Both reasonably priced and - spoiler alert - very solidly brewed.

Welcome back to the OBC site!  We've been MIA, but trust me when I say that hasn't stopped us from enjoying some great beer over the last few months.  To kick off a new year of reviews, I decided to pick something that struck a chord on three levels for me: 1) something brewed here in our beautiful province, 2) a stout, and 3) barrel aged.  Put these three things together, especially at this time of the year, and you've got something that will get me excited!

Weendigo is an imperial stout aged in Jack Daniel's barrels, weighing in at an impressive 10.2%.  A beer this big is definitely best served on the warmer side, not quite room temperature but close.  When you're ready to drink it, either leave it out of the fridge and place it in just before to chill it slightly, or if you do put it in the fridge take it out a while before to let it slowly approach room temperature.  Serving temperature is a very important part of tasting a beer.  If you want a good point of reference, I recommend this article over at ratebeer.com.

Once we've got the beer at the desired temperature it's time to pick an appropriate glass.  Stouts do well in a variety of glassware, from traditional pint glasses to snifters.  I don't own a decent set of snifters, so my go to is a tulip.  It'll usually capture strong aromas while holding thick, foamy head.  Also, when you pour about half a glass the tulip will usually capture and retain strong aromas, somewhat like a snifter would do.

Alright, enough horsing around, I think it's time we taste the beer.

There's a lot happening here.  Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malts and dried fruit sweetness dominate the nose, with hints of oak, booze and vanilla.  The flavour is very forward in that malt characteristic, the dried fruits from the nose are akin to raisins and dates, the vanilla becomes a little stronger and blends in with the dark chocolate.  The whiskey and oak notes are quite subdued, present but muted.  The mouthfeel is creamy, but dries out the mouth quickly.  All in all, this all balances well, making for a very good tasting imperial stout.

Would I recommend this beer?  Yes, absolutely.  I would have liked to see the barrel aging take a little more control in the overall feel of this beer, maybe had it aged for another six months it would have stood out more.  This is not a boundary-pushing beer, but it is definitely a solid imperial stout.

-James