I'm pale, Irish and sweaty. I burn easily and become irritable when hot. Needless to say, I'm not the world's biggest fan of summer. And the month of July in the Northeast has been OPPRESSIVE (CAPS Lock necessary). Then out of nowhere we got hit it with a two-day cold snap. And it has been glorious. I wore a hoodie today; not because I needed to but because I wanted to.
In juxtaposition to my pigmentation, I like my beers like I like my women: thick, dark and aged in bourbon barrels. However, the sticky sweetness and high alcohol booziness of your average Imperial Stout does not lend itself to the summer months and temperatures. So I viewed it as serendipitous when this cold snap aligned with the debut of Stone's latest collaboration beer: Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout.
If you're not plugged into the Stone Hype Machine, this beer is a collaboration between Stone's founder Greg Koch, Fark.com founder Drew Curtis, and homebrewer/prolific geek Wil Wheaton. You might know Wil from possibly the only funny episode of the Big Bang Theory or as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Or from Family Guy:
Anywho... as a guy who watches pro wrestling, plays MMORPGs, reads fantasy and sci-fi, and makes beer in his kitchen, I have appreciation for Wheaton's passion for all things geeky. And his staunch defense of the term "geek." But can this Triforce of geeks make a great beer?
From the most unlikely yet intensely imaginative trio that is actor and uber-geek champion Wil Wheaton, alternative news website Fark.com creator Drew Curtis and Stone CEO/Co-founder Greg Koch, comes an imperial stout unlike any ever made. Brewed with rye, wheat malt and pecans and partially aged in Bourbon whiskey barrels, this viscous yet silken brew erupts with an oaky, nutty bouquet and rich flavors of vanilla, toast and bitter chocolate. Enjoy now or cellar this celebration of nth degree passion and geekery applied most gracefully to the craft of brewing and collaboration-Drew Curtis/Wil Wheaton/Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout!
ABV: 13% IBUs: 65
Appearance: Black as the. Opaque as the... I don't know... lead paint I ate as a child. Look, it's black and you can't see through it, okay? A thin dark brown head of tiny bubbles. I had to pour pretty aggressively to get that much of it to stick around. Minimal to no lacing, which is to be expected with a huge beer like this.
Smell: Boozy solvency is definitely in there mixing with chocolate and coffee. A little bit of licorice-like smell that's not unpleasant (remember: I hate licorice). Brewmaster, Mitch Steele, says there's some "fruity fermentation esters" but I'm not catching much of those. I am getting a little hint of bourbon though.
Taste: Similar to the smell with the chocolate and coffee leading the way. I am getting more of the fruitiness in the taste; almost a cherry flavor? Definitely some boozy warmth to the taste and the bourbon-aged flavor of oaky vanilla. I'm thinking that fruity/cherry-type flavor I'm picking up might be the pecans. But I haven't had a pecan or a cherry in a long time. There is some sweetness on the backend that I would call "nutty," in the way that almond milk is sweet. I'm getting a bit hoppy bitterness at the end as this dries on the tongue.
Mouthfeel: Thick and full-bodied with a lot of alcohol heat (13% ABV, remember?). Almost chewy, but not in a bad way. Silky and creamy, but substantial. This beer finishes dry. Definitely warming.
Final Verdict: 4 out of 5. Buy it.
The w00tstout carries a not-insubstantial price tag of $10, but this is a very solid beer. I'm reminded a lot of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout as I drink it. I think I might buy another bottle and let that one age a bit and see if some of the flavors mellow and the complexity increases. This isn't a straight 5 out of 5 for me because of hefty booziness factor, that while not bad, is very forward. If you like hefty Imperial Stouts (as I do) you'll enjoy this beer. You might want to wait for a colder time of year, though, and let some aging take place.