Ok, so I’m not obsessed by Phillips, but I did grab another bottle on the way home today.
Phillips offers a wide variety to choose from, so when I peruse the selection offered at the local liquor store, there always seems to be something intriguing from Matt Phillips and his crew.
Today it’s the imperial stout Hammer, with a very communist motif on the label.
However, I will not share this beer.
It’s a stout for reals. In a big bottle only it comes, roasted barley and deep richness are the stand out flavours. I’ve let it warm a little as I sip and watch Lost. The time lets it breathe a little and the flavours change a little, but it stays true to it’s original taste. It makes Guinness seem lacking a little bit.
However, I have to say I think I drank it on the wrong day. This is a rainy day, winter fire drink. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem to fit the simple spring day we had today. Not to rag on it. It’s a solid sipper, not a party beer, though I can seem some poor sod seeing %8.3 on the label and thinking he’ll show how manly he is. Rich and roasted are not for chugging.
Just a note on stouts, I mentioned them in a piece earlier about porters. A stout is a type of porter, a little stronger. An imperial stout was the king of stouts in a way, brewed to impress, and then sell to, the Czars of Russia. That’s why a higher alcohol percentage. No, it’s not to get you toasted after a pint, it’s so it wouldn’t freeze on the way to/in Russia.
Now this is where my education lacks. If can confirm or explain the next bit to me, that’d be great. Stouts and porters use malted/roasted barley. This is barley which has been malted, or, essentially, started along the germination process and then heated. It’s a little more complicated then this, but stick with me for now. Malting is often done by fire or furnace, which roasts/burns the barley a little, hence the roasted flavours. The drying helps to develop enzymes which simplify the sugars. If sugars are simplified, this would explain the higher alcohol content perhaps? Or is the higher ABV% due to yeast and brewing time?