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RATINGS: 1559   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.76   SEASONAL: Summer   EST. CALORIES: 288   ABV: 9.6%
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“a stout of great contention” We are not the harbingers of truth as some may suggest but it may indeed be argued that our brewing philosophy is tantamount to a dessert with a bellicose past. How, you may ask, would a brewery determine a likeness to hard-coated custard? Our response is simple; it’s all in the power of history, and of course, the extra finesse needed to top off a contentious treat with definition.

By comprehending the labyrinthine movement of time, one would not think it strange to trace the errant path of an ordinary object such as a cream dessert only to discover that it has been the cause of cultural disputes since the middle ages. The British founders of burnt cream and from Spain, crema catalana, both stand by their creative originality and we respect that, but it was the French Crème Brûlée, amid the strife of contention, that survived to represent our deliciously creamy brew. 9.6% abv • 25º plato • 195º L • 22 oz / 1/6 keg 2-row pale malt / dark caramel malt / vanilla bean / lactose sugar / kettle hops: columbus / aroma hops: horizon

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
beerbill (3564) - Laurel, New York, USA - AUG 2, 2008
22 oz. bottle. Pours very dark brown, not quite black, with a moderate tan head that faded to a ring after a quarter of the glass and left a thin coating of foam with each sip. The aroma is this beer’s best feature, aboslutely incredible. Strong and luscious with all of the components of a rich creme brulee: egg custard, vanilla, caramel, and burnt sugar. Wow! The flavor, unfortunately, falls off a bit. The components are all still there, just not nearly as intense or as well meshed as the aroma. In addition, there is a very mild tobacco flavor. The finish is moderately bitter and a bit dry, which also cuts short the creme brulee flavors, and the bitterness lingers for five seconds or so beyond the swallow. No hint of the 10% abv. This is a wonderful dessert beer - and I’d love to try this one sometime with vanilla ice cream in a float.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mkobes (2142) - paramus, New Jersey, USA - AUG 1, 2008
On tap @ the Gman. Deep dark copper brown in color with a little off white head. Vanilla caramel butterscotch aroma. Malty sweet vanilla flavor. Chocolatety toffee notes. Butterscotch notes. BSweet tasting. Very sweet. Finish is sweet. Medium bodied. Ok.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 1, 2008
A massive wall of vanilla cream hits my nose just after I vigorously pour this beer; smells more like desert than just about anything, it is actually more concentrated than an actual crème brûlèe. The head form an initially three-finger thick, frothy, lightly browned, tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The vanilla is just so overwhelming and loud, you really can’t smell much else; luckily the vanilla note itself is not overly one dimensional, it is full enough that I am sure the brewer used actual vanilla beans (and a ton of them at that). If you like sweet and vanilla then this aroma is good, luckily I was ready for desert so this beer is fulfilling that urge so far. After warming up a bit the aroma takes on a touch of nuttiness and a butterscotch note becomes a bit more prominent.

Thick and rich up front with enough of a viscous body to make this a sipping brew; to be honest though it is not quite as rich and full as the aroma led me to believe. The vanilla notes are definitely far and away the dominant note here in the flavor as well, but some other flavors manage to assert themselves just enough to be noticeable. This finishes with a touch of hot alcohol, that in combination with the vanilla makes me think of Bourbon. Sweet, in fact incredibly sweet, though again not quite as much as the aroma might have suggested. The vanilla flavors contribute or bring out notes of butterscotch, Bourbon, . Not overly roasted, but some roast malt flavors seem to add a touch to the finish with a bit of bitterness. As this beer warms there is a slight nuttiness to the flavor that is a bit like browned butter and the flavors definitely lean towards burnt as the beer rolls across the palate.

I knew this beer was going to be a sweet, sticky, incredibly vanilla laden beer coming into this. For that reason I waited until I was really wanting dessert to have it. The aroma definitely satisfied any dessert fix that I might have wanted, but "strangely" I find the flavors not quite rich enough as this could use more roast malt flavors and a thicker, more complex malt base. That strangely in that last sentence is important, because if I was not ready for the overbearing vanilla and sweetness here I likely would have found this beer a sickly sweet, train wreck of an Imperial Stout; properly forewarned & with the right occasion, this beer, while overly simplistic, is not quite half bad and is even enjoyable if had in small doses.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
moelikebeer (221) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - AUG 1, 2008
Bottle. Very dark brown pour with a thin head. Intense vanilla aroma with notes of coffee, chocolate and toffee. Very sweet flavor. Lots of vanilla, caramel with a bitter coffee finish. Very rich beer. I split this three ways and it was still a bit much.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - AUG 1, 2008
First off, the label text describing this beer is regrettable dreck. Whereas Stone bottles are always an entertaining read, I plead with Southern Tier to stop aping them, or, at the very least, find a new writer. OK, off soapbox...and into this beer. This is the second massive disappointment in a row from Southern Tier after their lackluster Cherry Saison. The aroma is well-executed burnt, caramelized sugars and butterscotch, but these characteristics end up overwhelming the body, creating a cloying monstrosity barely clinging to the title, "beer." I had a hard time picking up the "stout" characteristics here, which did not surprise me, considering the translucent red-brown body that hinted at a lack of "oomph." Gimmicky and over-the-top. What happened to Southern Tier?

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
PilsnerPeter (3029) - Flushing, New York, USA - AUG 1, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 1, 2008 Tap at Ginger Man shared by beastiefan2k: Thanks Eugene. Opaque pour with a thin tan head. One of the most pungently aromatic beers I’ve encountered. Smells like a scented candle from Yankee Candle. Caramel and butterscotch. Painfully sweet and one dimensional, but how did they do that? Slick sticky body. Sugary sweet butterscotch flavor. Over the top sweet and sticky. Unbelievably caramel and butterscotch like. Burnt marshmallows in there as well. Not for my taste, but how did they make this so rich? Pours this on your ice cream, rather than in your snifter glass.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
MrYuk (21) - Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 1, 2008
This one tastes like an "Imperialized" version of my favorite beer- Saranac Caramel Porter! I would give it a 20 for aroma if I could. The flavor was much more complex than the Caramel Porter, but the little bit of alcohol burn seemed unneccesasry. I can’t imagine a better "dessert" beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
drfabulous (4622) - Lexington, Kentucky, USA - AUG 1, 2008
Vanilla. Bit of bourbon taste. The movement into the dessert beer. Late night. Friday night when the kid is asleep. After dinner drink. Nice, but the body could be heavier. It feels as if the added vanilla is pushing this beer rather than the beer pushing the vanilla.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kkearn (1165) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 31, 2008
22oz bottle from Capone’s (Norristown, PA). Pours deep brown, capped with a thin white head. Very sweet aroma, with vanilla bean, sugar, butterscotch (like grandma’s candy dish), and some burnt malt. This really smelled like a creme brulee. Very sweet (almost too sweet) on the palate, again with butterscotch, vanilla and custard. The flavor then shifts gradually to a more bitter profile, with charred wood and coffee flavors. Long, moderately bitter finish. Thick syrupy mouthfeel. This was very interesting and perfectly named, but just a bit too sweet for my taste.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
xmarcnolanx (929) - Kirkwood, Missouri, USA - JUL 31, 2008
Wow, what an interesting smell. Lots of vanilla and coffee. Maybe it is hazelnut or caramel too? Anyway, that’s intense. Taste is initially bitter. Nutty, vanilla. This is fucking crazy. This is pretty fucking gross. Lactose, sugar... this is a latte, and not a good one. Tastes like fucking syrup.

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