Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

World Wide Stout

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware

American Double / Imperial Stout

18.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
World Wide Stout is one of the world’s strongest dark beers. It is brewed using six different yeast strains over seven months and then aged for half a year. Dark, rich, roasty, and complex, World Wide Stout has more in common with a fine port than a can of cheap, mass-marketed beer (released in early winter with very limited availability).

I have had this beer several times in the past. Most recently it was our final snifter, digestive beer for this year’s Thanksgiving Bier Dinner. It is a fairly expensive, special occasion beer that comes in at a whopping 18% ABV. I picked up these for just under $9.00 for a 12 oz bottle. I have never given it a full review so lets see how it holds up.

Pours a completely opaque, stout black, actually dark brown, there is absolutely nothing showing through this beer, even when held up to the light, not even around the edges. This is truly completely opaque. There is also just a faint wisp of a head.

Not just dark roasted malts but sinisterly dark, roasted malts on the nose. There is also a sweet dark fruit aroma and you can definitely detect the alcohol on the nose of this one.

Wow! that is a slow sipping beer. Sinister is the only word that pops into my head. It’s the first thing I thought of on the nose and also on that first sip. You can not drink this beer. No I don’t mean it’s not drinkable but you have to slowly sip it. I think a basic human survival instinct will kick in and prevent you from attempting to take too large a drink of it. Hold on, I really need to regroup in order to attempt an explanation of what I’m tasting.

Like most stouts dark roasted malt sweetness up front, there is no real carbonation so you don’t get the middle of the sip cleansing. Instead you get a sweet creamy coating throughout your mouth. Then some bitterness, not sure if it’s really hop or roasted malt bitterness but it’s there in mid to backend of the taste. Then there is the back end; wow you can now start to taste the alcohol and that bitterness at the beginning of the swallow. Just at post swallow you can feel the warming effect in the alcohol of this beer as it warms your chest. You can feel it move from the back of your throat to the bottom of your chest. It is almost like taking a shot of Romulan Ale. OK, I lost you on the Romulan Ale, how about a shot of whiskey or rum? It really does have that much of a warming effect but without the alcohol burn or harshness. The final aftertaste is also very complex on the pallet. It’s sweet with caramel malts, chocolaty and alcoholic all at the some time. The alcohol seems to thin out the roasted malts that you would normally get in the aftertaste of a stout. This is a dryer caramel malt sweetness, it almost reminds me of those alcohol filled chocolate candies. Boy that was a lot of words to explain one sip of beer but you don’t realize how unique that sip of beer was.  

Don’t let all of that scare you. This is really an exquisite beer. It’s just one that you have to take your good ole time sipping. I have had this one sitting in the beer frig waiting or the right time to have it. Tonight is a cold night after a good snow fall so it seemed the most appropriate time to have this brew.

I don’t know if this is the most unique beer I’ve ever had but it is the most unique and the most alcohol I’ve ever had in a stout.

It’s tough to actually let a beer warm up this time of year. I usually like to warm a beer up to room temperature in order to test character development etc.
This beer is at 60 degrees now and it is smoother then it was earlier.

I am actually going to use the design of the snifter to warm up this beer much like I would a Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, sorry, lost you again. The round bottom of the snifter caresses against the palm of your hand heating up the contents.

Wow, I quickly got this to 72 degrees and it’s just amazing. It’s like sipping a whole different beer. Much maltier and creamier then it was when colder. This just makes you melt and savor each sip, which are getting fewer. I’m going to continue this little experiment.

76 degrees and no harshness, it just keeps getting smoother the warmer it gets.

78 degrees and still even smoother, Phenomenal!

The last sip of this experiment was at 81 degrees. Simply Unbelievable! It is amazing how much smoother and creamier the beer gets when it warms up and I mean warm at 81 degrees. The alcohol is a little more assertive at 81 but incredibly smooth and delightful.

I don’t know why I ever bothered to chill this beer. I will not in the future. The next time I have this it will be served at room temperature in a snifter. 

I shared my 12 oz bottle with my son John but I can start to feel the effects of the alcohol even after only having 6 oz.

This was a phenomenal experience. But at the same time It’s almost tough to call this a beer. It’s like we need a new title or category for this beverage, how about a “Beer Liqueur”.

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