American Stout

Rhinelander Boatswain Chocolate Stout

Rhinelander Boatswain Chocolate StoutBeer No. 60 – Rhinelander Boatswain Chocolate Stout

Always suspicious of BWBs. No, not BBWs, even if there is reason to be. BWBs – “brewed with” beers. The fruity, barely beer category is littered with these obvious offerings. And somewhere lurking behind there always seems to be some brew conglomerate doing it and doing it poorly. I’ve never heard of Rhinelander (or Minhas or whatever it used to be and can’t be bothered to explain on its website) but my local Trader Joe’s is full of em. But this isn’t so obvious, or poorly done.

STYLE: American Stout

ABV: 5.4%

LOOK: We’re not breaking any ground here. Dark but not oily with a brown-butter head.

NOSE: That delicate balance of sweet and bitter and tang. Chocolate cake, vanilla, subtle orange, medium roast coffee.

MOUTH: If it’s possible, almost too easy drinking. I want and indeed need a little bitter bite, preferably at the middle of the end. Just-warm coffee, wisp of smoke, chocolate. Not a game-changer, just solid. 

Beeradvocate Rating: 76

ratebeer Rating: 58

Hayward Abbey Rating: 82

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Avery Out of Bounds Stout

Beer No. 24 – Avery Out of Bounds Stout

A fine beer, no doubt. Just not up to the usual, higher standards of Avery Brewing Company.

STYLE: American Stout

ABV: 6.3%

LOOK: Hole-in-the-ground black with a slow run of carbonation to a decent, but not exceptional, khaki head.

NOSE: Old leather, tobacco, graham crackers.

MOUTH: Bitter coffee, crisp, almost fruity. Soft smokiness gently fills the lungs. Touch of warm chocolate and soft baseball mitt to balance.

Beeradvocate Rating: 85

Hayward Abbey Rating: 81

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

Beer No. 9 – Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout

I’ve recently learned that “black licorice” is redundant, in the formal, I’m smarter than you and went to college “in Boston” kind of way. Highfalutin types will simply say this brew is kissed with licorice. And about that, and maybe only that, they’re right.

STYLE: American Stout

ABV: 6%

LOOK: Purpley black with a brown leather head. Rich consistency planted firmly below a frothy three-finger topper.

NOSE: Moon pies and thick malt. There’s something just sweet I can’t put my finger on. Maybe plum, maybe not. A little mysterious. I like it.

MOUTH: Licorice, smokey, charcoal. Phenols as it warms, more than expected for a 6% beer. A little too burnt on the back end, and despite its drinkability, maybe lacking a little complexity. The flaws, they aren’t prominent, but they keep this otherwise quaffable pint a few points from exceptional.

Beeradvocate Rating: 91

Hayward Abbey Rating: 87