Twas the fourth night after Christmas and all through the bar, was the anticipation from the patrons of beers from afar.
The sleigh put away and the reindeer in the stable, so how would these special beers soon appear on the table?
The sound of bells chiming now filled the air, as I began to ponder but didn’t want to stare.
A jolly, young man with a Bell’s Brewery hat a top and a bag full of goodies that didn’t stop.
Then from the bag what should appear? A collection of Bell’s imperial beers!
At the end of December for the last three years, Bell’s Brewery has made it to Omaha, Nebraska bringing some incredible beers! I am a big fan of their stouts, especially the Expedition Stout.
This year was even more special as I got the chance to try the five beers pictured above and to learn more about each of them. I will get to those in a minute…
The other thing that was a so much fun was getting to chat with the Bell’s sales rep about how long you can keep a stout before it goes past its peak. I was very intrigued by this since it was my first year of having a stout that I had stored for a year. His general rule is that you have a prime window from 2 to 3 years. Some beers can make it up to 5 years before going downhill.
One of the key things to watch out for that a beer is going bad is signs of cardboard or stale like tastes. This is the result of oxygen making its way into the beer over time. The crimped beer caps are much better than the screw caps use to be. Bottles that have a wooden cork in them can also help extend a beer’s life. For me, I think I will follow the 2 to 3-year rule just to be on the safe side!
Now onto the beers!
Saturn is a Bourbon barrel aged Barley Wine that was released in April of 2015 as part of the Planet Series. There are a lot of flavors going on with this beer and for me it was the caramel and vanilla notes that stood out!
Black Note Stout 2016 is a combination of the Expedition Stout and the Double Cream Stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels. The 2016 version is very rich and malty with the oak and bourbon flavors throughout.
Black Note Stout 2017 was my favorite of the night! I had the 2016 first, so when I tried the 2017, there was even more character with dark fruit and raisin flavors. Definitely one of the best imperial stouts I have ever had!
Cherry Stout is a nice tart cherry barrel aged stout. If you like tart cherries, chocolate, and bourbon flavor, then this is the beer for you.
30th Anniversary Ale from 2015 is an imperial stout that was roasty with a little bit of sweetness to it. This is one that I would have to spend more time with to get all of the flavors out of it.
What a night to remember!
On my beercation list is Michigan and Bell’s is at the top of the list.