Beer of the Weekend #651: V.I.P. (Vanilla Imperial Porter)

The beer this New Year’s Eve — the last of 2014 and the final edition of December’s daily liquid research — is V.I.P. (Vanilla Imperial Porter), brewed by the Madhouse Brewing Company of Des Moines, Iowa.

Though December has been quite tasty, I will be nice not to review a beer every night. I think I will dial it back to every weekend for a while.

Also, tonight’s tasting took place at Sweets and Zaza’s house. I went over there for a little while, shared the bottle, and watched Terry Crews take his shirt off and flex his pecks at New Years.

Serving type: 750 ml bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours an opaque black into a snifter. About two fingers of very dense, brown-colored, lightly bubbly head dissipates gradually, leaving a short trail of lacing along the glass. It leaves a thick collar.

Smell: Dark, malty, and boozy. The vanilla smoothes everything over nicely. There are aromas of barrel char, roasted malt, chocolate, and a big does of whiskey-like alcohol. There are also scents of molasses and dark fruit. It is amazing, though, how the vanilla hangs around and smoothes everything. Chocolate becomes very prominent after the beer has continued to warm.

Taste: The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Wow. The whiskey is much more noticeable. The vanilla, though, is also prominent and keeps the whiskey from being overpowering. It mellows after a few minutes and the roasted malt, molasses, and dark fruit come through. There is also a little brown sugar. After the beer has warmed, the flavors blend together to make for a pleasing mélange.

Drinkability: This is tasty, boozy, and well-aged stuff. It is very drinkable, and is a fitting beer to toast the New Year.

Fun facts about V.I.P.:

-Style: Imperial porter.

-Price: $14.99/bottle at the New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City.

-Alcohol content: 10.5 percent ABV. I don’t even feel it, which speaks volumes for all the drinking I have done this month.

-While at Sweets and Zaza’s, we talked quite a bit about King of the Hill. Sweets wanted me to note that for the hell of it.

-I asked Sweets how he would rate V.I.P. We discussed a scale and eventually settled on a scale of 0 to 100. He rated V.I.P. an 89. I rated it 91.

The Quiet Man’s grade: A-.

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