Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Patience is a virtue.
Waiting is the hardest part.
For three years I’ve been sitting on as bottle of Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout brewed in 2010, waiting for a good reason to pop the cap. With lousy, cold weather making its way through North Carolina recently, it was a perfect opportunity to sip this 18 percent brew. It’s got a 92 on Beer Advocate.
So, as a slushy, wintery mix left layers of ice outside, World Wide Stout helped me stay warm inside.
After so long in its bottle, there was certain to be some level of of oxidation impacting the brew, which I feel affected its secondary characteristics because this beer is all about the booze. Pouring the midnight black beer into my glass lifted intense alcohol notes out the top, although thanks to aging they were slightly subdued, like 120 Minute. Oddly enough, I found sugar-sweet smells of root beer peaking through, too.
But then there are those wonderful aromas you’d come to expect from an imperial stout like this – chocolate, licorice, tobacco and somewhere, fading scents of coffee. Perhaps due to its aging, the World Wide Stout smelled noticeably of white wine at the end of each sniff.
That aspect was also surprisingly present in the beer’s taste, one of a couple welcome layers of complexity to what could be an otherwise by-the-books malt-forward brew. Light tastes of Riesling grapes took the forefront on most sips, sometimes replaced by expected bitter dark chocolate flavor. I swear that the finish often left a smokey barbecue taste on my tongue when it wasn’t overpowering my taste buds with boozy heat.
It goes without saying, this beer isn’t for everyone, but I do believe that letting it sit for some time benefits both the beer and the drinker.
World Wide Stout stats (via attempted homebrew clone recipe on BrewBoard.com):
- Malt: Roasted barley, flaked barley, Cara Munich, rye, extra dark dried malt extract
- Hops: Columbus, Magnum and Amarillo
- Additives: Saffron, Belgian candi sugar
- ABV: 18 percent (real thing)
- Brewery: Dogfish Head of Milton, Delaware