I’m going to come right out with it. I love stouts. Dark beers in general tend be my favorites.
So when I saw that Samuel Adams had released a dark beer called “13th Hour” in its Barrel Room series, I found myself looking forward to it.
Described on the label as a “Belgian style stout,” I was intrigued by the description, which spoke of spices, coffee, chocolate and oak. What I experienced was far away from my expectations of rich chocolate and bitter coffee notes, but was still pleasant.
The beer is indeed a stout in appearance, dark and rich-looking, with a light tan head. But the sweet and oak-y aroma was not what I expected.
The flavors of the medium bodied liquid followed closely with the smell, as the taste of oak and vanilla, sweet raisins and cherries overwhelmed brief traces of chocolate. Also in abundance was the taste of alcohol, which was more prominent than in other 9% ABV brews I’ve had in the past.
I actually ended up enjoying the beer, though it certainly wasn’t what I expected. If you’re looking for a mainstream stout, veer away from this. But if you’re looking for a change of pace, the 13th Hour won’t disappoint.