I haven't tried much lately that has blown me away or made me teary-eyed with joy. I submit that the Boulevard Brewing 2011 Imperial Stout was quite impressive. Clocking in at 11% ABV and housed in a stately bomber bottle containing off-the-cuff scribble that looks like the track listing on Exile on Main Street, there are plenty of non-substantive reasons for this brew's appeal. Yet the proof is always in the pudding.
Let me be the first to tell you that this is one tasty pudding. It's a bourbon barreled stout whose nose makes no bones about that status. The bourbon aroma readily announces itself along with the odor of baked bread. The mouthfeel is rather rich but on the lighter end of being dense. You feel as though it really coats your tongue. Bourbon is easily detectable on the palate along with bitter chocolate and a bit of rye and graininess. It's not nearly as boozy as other bourbon stouts such as Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I'd say that it has an somewhat easygoing nature about it, not imposing or heavy handed and not overly powerful. Boulevard claims that this has the Brett wild yeast in it, added to impart distinctive flavors and odors and the potential for crazy bottle conditioning. This may be true but I didn't detect anything too unusual. Any Brett derived character may bear itself out more in time.
I find this beer highly enjoyable, very engaging, and never overly powerful. Not much of this is available as its a blend of the 2010 batch and a batch that's 2-year bourbon barrel aged, so get it while you can. Two bottles would be a great get since it's drinking well now but may be outstanding in a couple of years and will certainly be quite interesting at that time given its barrel aging potential.
4.2 of 5 stars.