Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Imperial Stout Microbrew Review

Well, I think I've just about gotten to the bottom of my winter microbrew stash...finally! Not that it's been highly anticipated as I really enjoy the winter warming style micros. But hey, summer's here and it's time to kiss winter (and spring) goodbye with this final winter brew review. Here we go with Thirsty Dog Brewing Company Siberian Night Imperial Stout.

First off, I love the label. This bottle's got a hauntingly shadowed image of a nice rendition of a wolf with glowing yellow eyes. It almost challenges you to drink this imperial stout while threatening you to stay away at the same time.

Secondly, just a little bit of history I've learned about the Thirsty Dog Brewing Company brand. These folks started out very small (just four people total) opening a dog-themed microbrew brewpub in 1996 based in Canton, Ohio. Their beers (including their flagship Old Leghumper) grew in fame and popularity and started to rack up multiple medals in microbrew competitions. Back in 2003 however, some new investors stepped in and purchased the rights to bottling and distributing the Thirsty Dog brews. Same beer, but you might notice the "brewed and bottled for Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. by Frederick Brewing Co. Frederick, Maryland" on the side of the bottle. Don't be scared away. Everything's still alright on the inside.

Popping the cap off the twelve ounce brown bottle, I poured this rich, thick and syrupy black beauty into a 16 ounce unchilled tankard. As imperial stouts go, this one followed suit with an intimidating, pitch black void. No light getting through here. Head was minimal and colored tan, mocha. Not thick and rich, and not real patient in sticking around long.

Aroma is burnt chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate scents and just a nint of caramel and molasses. This imperial stout is good enough just to sit and smell without drinking it. But I'll go the extra mile and drink it anyway. What the heck?

First sip is thick, syrupy and sweet and chocolately as well. While not one of the most "chewy" imperial stouts I've sampled, Thirsty Dog Siberian Night is one of the sweetest, but within good taste. It's not overbearingly sweet or annoying. One of the things that did surprise me about this microbrew was that, although listed at 9% alcohol content by volume, the alcoholic burn is hidden very well. Almost too well. I've tried several Imperial Stouts that I just couldn't enjoy the flavor for all the alcohol burning my throat. This is not one of those.

While I enjoyed just about everything about Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's Siberian Night Imperial Stout, one thing I feel it fell a little short on was that it just didn't seem all that complex to me. Even as the beer warmed in my glass, all the flavors stayed the same. I guess in some ways that's a good thing. But I try to set the bar high and a stellar holds my interest all the way through the entire twelve ounces. I like a beer that tastes great for it's style, and throws in a few twists and turns to make it really stand out.

In summary, I'd rate Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's Siberian Night Imperial Stout right up there with some of the better ones I've tried to date. It's definitely in my Top 10 Imperial Stouts (in my somewhat limited experience). If I had to give Siberian Night a score, I'd probably say it's about a 9.00 out of 10.00 on my scale. If you enjoy stouts, and the imperial stouts in particular, you'll definitely want to try Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Imperial Stout. It's a definite "can't go wrong" microbrew without a doubt. Enjoy responsibly!

You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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