Beer of the Weekend #296: Schlafly Coffee Stout

Naturally, I was in charge of the beer for Thanksgiving. I bought sixers of Staropramen, Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, and Fat Tire; 12-packs of PBR and Coors Light; and 750 ml bottles of La Fin du Monde and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. The Coors Light was a regrettable purchase, especially since the light beer drinkers preferred my dad’s Miller Lite. For some reason the hefe was really popular, though judging from the smell I suspect it was a little past its prime. And I did not even touch the bottles of La Fin du Monde and Christmas Ale. In all, I think only 10 beers were enjoyed — five of them by me. Needless to say, I have a ton of frosty leftovers.

Regardless, I bought another sixer tonight for sampling. (I do not think I have ever officially sampled Fat Tire, but did not know for sure.) The beer of the weekend is Schlafly Coffee Stout, brewed by the St. Louis Brewery of St. Louis, Missouri.

Schlafly brews have exploded onto the IC beer scene in the past couple months, and Coffee Stout represents my first experience with the label. I cannot find any easy information regarding the story behind the St. Louis Brewery and the Schlafly name, but I assume there is something interesting behind it.

Serving type: Twelve-ounce bottle. Printed on the front of the label, on the bottom border, is probably a born-on date: “11 03 2011.” (From now on I will only refer to the single bottle size instead of the package I bought: I will write, “Twelve-ounce bottle” instead of “Six 12-ounce bottles.” I have thought about this off and on, and think it better reflects the actual serving type for each beer. (Duh.) The kind of package I bought is reflected in the “Price” listed below.)

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is almost opaque black; a tiny bit of light passes through when I hold it to light. Two fingers of fluffy, tan head dissipated to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: I got a whiff of coffee the moment after popping the cap. It has a massive, roasted coffee aroma, a testament to the espresso shots the brew was inspired by. It is pretty sinister, and exhibits quite a bit of edge, but underneath (I want to believe) lurks scents of chocolate and oatmeal smoothness, which blunt the roasted bitterness a tad.

Taste: Wow. The first sip is an experience: surprisingly smooth and creamy, and not as bitter as I expected. Though the coffee from the smell dominates, it loses its edge. Perhaps my taste buds adjusted from the smell. The chocolate I wanted is present, as is the oatmeal smoothness in the flavor and mouthfeel, which counter the roasted bitterness from the coffee.

Drinkability: I am impressed. This is truly a coffee stout in the sense it smells like coffee and tastes like stout.

Fun facts about SCS:

-Style: Schlafly obviously considers it coffee stout, but BA classifies it as “Oatmeal Stout.”

-Price: $8.99/sixer at John’s Grocery in Iowa City.

-Serving temperature: 50-55ºF.

-Alcohol content: 5.7 percent ABV.

-Food pairings: BA recommends earthy cheeses (Camembert, Fontina), chocolate, shellfish, and smoked meat.

-IBU: 30.

-Color: 65 SRM.

-Informative nerdiness from the beer’s webpage:

Our Coffee Stout is a classic combination of a traditional stout and premium French roast coffee from St. Louis roaster, Kaldi’s Coffee. Roasted barley and coffee dominate the aroma, with the sweetness from the stout balancing the acidity of the coffee. We use a unique cold toddy extraction process to brew a less acidic coffee for the beer.

In the 1990’s, Kaldi’s staff started visiting the Schlafly Tap Room, asking for a pint of stout and a shot of espresso. Both Schlafly and Kaldi’s realized this was a match made in beer heaven, and soon started working together to find the perfect coffee blend to mix with our Oatmeal Stout. This collaboration continues today, with regular tastings to perfect the Coffee Stout.

-SCS is only available November through March.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B+.


Popular Posts