This past weekend I picked up Sam Adam’s winter variety pack with an eye (as always) on their specialty addition. For this season’s pack, it’s “Black & Brew,” a coffee stout brewed with Sumatran coffee beans. It’s currently got a B+ score on Beer Advocate.
I wasn’t sure what to expect because in my experience, coffee beers can be all over the board. I love coffee, but don’t drink it, and this actually ended up ideal for that palate. Definitely a beer I could drink in multiple bottles.
The initial smell isn’t that of coffee at all – at least for me. I got a very malty, almost caramel smell that went well with the stout base. Kind of like a regular dry stout you’ll find elsewhere. The taste was similar to the smell, with a good malt flavor. As it warmed, I got more of a coffee taste, but not so much with the smell. Coffee never overpowered any of the other flavors and I’d say it actually works just fine as a regular, dry stout with a nice, roasted flavor. Perhaps this is the key to the beer and it’s ability to make me want to drink more – nothing is too powerful and works well together.