Southern Tier Again! Imperial Desserts?

Wow, a slew of new imperial series beers from Southern Tier have just come into my local store, and my taste buds have been exploding left and right!

Right now I’m finishing off a Pumking, a pretty darn amazing pumpkin beer that’s available every fall.

I’ve also got Creme Brulee, Jahva, Mokah, and Back-Burner Barleywine in the fridge!

This post will be created over a few days, highlighting the deliciousness of each of these amazing beers!  To me, these beers all have very dessert like qualities.  Here we go!

Pumking

A pretty damn amazing pumpkin beer.  Appearance is a bit light on head and lacing, but it’s perfectly pumpkin in color and pretty clear, for the most part nice to look at.  It’s got a fantastic aroma, that might be its best quality.  Just like a slice of Grandma’s pie (and my Grandma could bake some serious pies).  Flavor wise it’s very sweet, and very, very spicy.  It’s got bite too, probably a bit from the alcohol, perhaps a bit from being more hopped than other pumpkin brews (?), and definitely from a ton of spices.  I like the aroma more than the flavor, but it’s still quite delicious.  The body is slick, sweet, a little sticky, and plenty thick and rich.  Alcohol is notable but not overwhelming.  I think I’ve had four years worth of Pumking, and this year’s is my favorite yet (the ABV is 8.6% this year, a bit lower than last year’s, maybe that’s why).  I try to get a couple bombers of this every year because it’s so damn festive!

There aren’t that many really good pumpkin beers out there, but from the ones I have tried, I would rate Schlafly’s and Southern Tier’s pumpkin beers at the top.  Actually, Dogfish Head’s pumpkin deserves special mention too, but sadly, I can’t get that one around here.

Mokah

Rating a 92 on beer advocate (with 586 reviews), it’s no slouch.  And American double/imperial stout is a tough category, so that rating is nothing to scoff at either.

Well it’s not that much to look at, kinda flat without a lot of head or lace or carbonation, black as night.  But again, looks don’t make the beer all on their own.

The aroma and flavor are amazing!  Plenty of chocolate: Milk and baker’s chocolate, some cocoa, so many facets of chocolate it’s almost overwhelming.  There’s actually a pretty good hoppiness to it as well, more than I’d expect from the name.  Add to that a nice touch of acrid/burnt malt flavor, plus plenty of sweetness, and you’ve got one tasty imperial stout.

The body is slick, very sweet, and a little syrupy.  The alcohol is well hidden but comes through a bit more as it warms.

You should be aware that this is a very sweet dessert type beer, and be prepared if you open the bomber to drink a lot of very sweet, syrupy beer.  But it’s so worth it!  Delicious stuff!

Jahva

Actually it’s no surprise that this is pretty similar to mokah.  It’s got almost the same appearance and could quite possibly share a good amount of the same ingredients.  However, it does have a distinct and different character that’s quite worth trying.

I detected TONS of chocolate, roasted, and a little burnt malt aroma and flavor, plus plenty of coffee (I would hope so, given the name).  There’s a little vanilla and some dark fruits too.

It’s distinctly different from mokah, but right on the same lines as far as the type of beer and experience you get from drinking it.  Thick, sweet, syrupy, heavily dessert-y, and damn delicious!

Creme Brulee

Again, unimpressive appearance, quite similar to mokah and jahva.

Smells awesome! Although it’s not an especially beer-like smell, more of a dessert like smell. Sweet brown sugar and vanilla aromas dominate, with some roasty dark notes. You can instantly smell it the moment you open up the bottle, and it only smells better and better in the glass as you drink it.

Taste is heavily sweet with tons of vanilla, gobs of brown sugar, almost like drinking a dessert. It truly lives up to its name if a beer ever did.  There’s some dark, roasty notes and some vanilla cappuccino, but nothing at all in the way of hops.

Body is pretty full and very sticky from the sweetness. Carbonation isn’t bad, light but ample, despite the lackluster appearance.

Again, it’s a very thick, very sweet, very dessert-y beer.

Finally, I’m reviewing Back-Burner Imperial Oak Aged Barleywine

Pours cloudy and brown, very typical of a barleywine.  Carbonation is ample and provided a pretty good 2 finger head that lasted a bit, but dissipated into a sheen, leaving pretty good thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma is blastingly malty, with that pungent barley aroma I’m looking for in a barleywine.  Caramel malts are plentiful.  Hops are equally forward, with a nice twang to top off the pungent aromas.

Flavor is very nice.  Caramel malt, brown sugar, dark ripe fruits, some citrus bitterness, and a nice balancing of hops.  This isn’t an overly hopped barleywine, it’s more malt forward and balanced (as compared to say SN Bigfoot ale, which I found to be monstrously hoppy).  There’s a note of oak, but it’s not very forward and certainly not overpowering.

The body is medium to full, with a slick, syrupy finish.

It’s pretty good, not the best barleywine I’ve had but still pretty good.  It’s right on par from what I expect from the Southern Tier Imperial Series.

*******************

Southern Tier.  Definitely a GO at this station!

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