Monday, February 20, 2012

Jester King Craft Brewery Black Metal Review

A recent addition to the family of stouts I have consumed is Jester King Craft Brewery's Black Metal Farmhouse Imperial Stout.  If that's a lot for one to say, just know that you are dealing with a beer that is itself a handful.  First of all, you've gotta love the bottle. It's black with heavy metal-type Gothic lettering, as if this is the dark occult-favored beer at sacrifices, as the endless 12-string guitar solos blast away around the towering pyre in the night.  A cartoon drawing of a black haired man draped in chains who's a cross between Ozzie and Kiss with serpentine eyes is showcased on the bottle.  This dude does not look happy.  Perhaps he hasn't had his share of this beer, which is one that would brighten even the angriest metal rocker's disposition.

This isn't a massive attack of a beer that feels dangerous.  The only alarming trait is the high ABV of 9%.  It's an overall mellow affair, dominated by bitter chocolate through and through.  It's on the nose, it's on the main part of the plate and it's in the finish.  It has a bit of smokiness, too, one that you might expect out of a dark beer.  Hauntingly black is the way I'd describe the color, perhaps its only true homage to death metal.  The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slight chewiness.  I detected a bit of nuttiness and breadiness in the flavor.  The hops are not pronounced but are mellow and earthy, providing a nice grainy floor for the chocolaty malts to land.

If Allmusic Guide rated this beer, they'd give it 4 stars for sure, as will I.  It's overall softness and complexity belies its heavy metal exterior.  I'd expect such a connection to be attempted with a huge 12% stout with crazy yeasts, or a ridiculously hoppy black IPA, or some crazy whiskey barrel aged beer.  But this is an excellent beer with a cool looking bottle that doesn't quite fit with the contents. Its more indie or folk music than it is metal; but, hey, it hails from Austin, Texas, after all. 

4.2 of 5 stars.

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