Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Great Divide - Yeti Imperial Stout Review

Great Divide Yeti Stout

Brewery: Great Divide (CO)
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.5%
Grade: B+

While I doubt that anyone overlooks the complexity of imperial stouts, I think it's important to sometimes remember how varied the style can be — maybe not the range enjoyed by, say, IPAs, but imperial stouts can have a lot of range from one to the next. Silky and chocolatey, roasty and bitter, oatmeal-smooth and creamy like a cup of coffee, sweet molasses and licorice, or caramel and rich dark fruit. And that's without getting into the realm of barrel-aged or extra-ingredient stuff, like actual chocolate and coffee.

Great Divide's Yeti imperial stout is somewhere between (or all over) the realm of sweet molasses, licorice, caramel and rich dark fruit. I should add that my bottle is a little over a year old at the time of review, so most of the initial 75 IBUS will have faded in that time, leaving a beer that leans much more toward sweet than bitter. As I tend to like my imperial stouts more balanced, bitter, and roasty, I'm thinking I should have actually drank this fresh. Oh well. The complexity is still there, and the beer is certainly huge — caramel, molasses and dark fruit are dominant, with a silky, oily mouthfeel that leads into a sticky, rich finish. There's almost no bitterness — from roast or hops — and what's left of the hop flavor pops out only in fleeting moments. But, there's almost no hint of alcohol either, making this unexpectedly easy to drink, despite the lingering sweetness.

While I kind of think I would enjoy this more fresh, it's not lacking anything as an imperial stout — certainly one of the better of its kind on the sweet / syrupy end of the spectrum. While I'd say this lands in "desert beer" territory, the complexity remains striking, with nary a rough spot or boozy burn that could be considered a flaw. If you prefer sweet, oily stouts with a depth of flavors yet a minimum of bitter roast, this one is for you.

Availability: Year-round. 22 ounce bomber.

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