Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Southern Tier – Jah-va Imperial Coffee Stout

For a long time, I’ve avoided coffee stouts because I don’t like coffee. I can’t drink it, don’t like the smell of it, and can’t get over its flavor even if its hidden in ice cream. But I was told that coffee stouts don’t really taste like coffee, they just take the best bits of it and support an already good beer. I’ve tried Red Hook’s Double Black, which is also a coffee stout, and I liked it a lot. So, I felt a little braver when I saw this bottle.

In the glass, this sits black with a ring of white head that rings the edge and never leaves as it is consumed. The aroma? Sweet alcohol with a roasty bitterness and a hint – a whisper – of coffee. I’m feeling pretty confident that this won’t swamp me with bitter coffee, so I decide its time to stop staring at the brew and actually drink it.
The taste is a beautiful, delicious stout with just a hint of that earthy dirty coffee that adds a bit of character to what would be a strong imperial stout without the coffee. The taste is complex and would delight any palate, whether you like coffee or not. I think they’ve done a wonderful job balancing bitter and sweet, alcohol and malt. This is a must-try if you like dark beer and you’re looking for something better than your typical Guinness. I am impressed, and the 12% ABV lends some serious weight to this well crafted drink. It would work well with a post dinner dessert (replacing coffee of course). 
The bottom line : if coffee tasted like this, I would drink coffee!!

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3 Comments

  1. Middle Class Middle Aged White Guy

    I can’t stand coffee either – unAmerican, I know – but coffee stouts (and tiramisu and cappucino cake) make the grade with me. Not a style I’d drink all the time, but nice for a change of pace.

  2. notg

    Sounds like a good one!
    It’s just a matter of time before you embrace coffee goodness for what it is.

  3. darknova306

    Southern Tier is one of my favorite breweries here in NY. I can’t remember if I’ve had their Jah’va yet or not, but now you’ve got me thinking about making a trip to the beer store. I’m always looking for a coffee stout.

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