That crazy ass Hallmark created holiday is right around the corner, and if you are anything like us, you don’t do much to celebrate it (except of course toast your love with a great beer). But then again, we are an old married couple, and can celebrate what we want, when we want. If you are newly hitched or newly attached or wannabe attached, then here are some good beers to help keep you attached or get you attached. Or if you are single, then you can keep these great beers to yourself. Kinda like that saying, “No friends on powder days!” At any rate, here our some of the best stouts to help you achieve a Stout Valentine’s Day.
Disclaimer: There are so many fantastic stouts out there, these are ones that recently came to mind (nothing against the other stouts out there), and we wanted to share them with you. If you have other recommendations, please, share them with us. Let’s spread the stout love.
BrewDog – Jet Black Heart
Kenny fell in love with BrewDog with their TV show, as founders James and Martin traveled all over the place brewing crazy ass beers. We then traveled to Scotland (where BrewDog originated) with our younger son and finally got to drink the beer… including Jet Black Heart. Blown away!
If you’re not in the region around Columbus, Ohio, where BrewDog launched their U.S. brewery, their beer can be hard to come by. Necessity being the mother of invention, we brewed our own version of Jet Black Heart with friends Dan and Aurora to enjoy until we can track the original down in a funky little bottle shop somewhere.
At 4.7% ABV (our homebrew was a little higher), it’s a little on the lighter for a thick-as-midnight stout, but the flavor is off the charts.
“This stout is black as pitch and smooth as hell. Jet Black Heart is a milk stout with an ebony core. Loaded with oatmeal and primed for a velvet smooth delivery. Cacao, roasted coffee and berry fruits linger in its deepest darkest depths. Full-bodied, rich and decadent to the core. Jet Black Heart – beer to blacken your soul.” (BrewDog)
A little dark for the Hallmark Holiday, but that’s true BrewDog style, baby!
Deschutes Brewery – The Abyss
Fear not that we might be wimping out on the ABV as we get older. Not the case at all. The Abyss and its variants from Deschutes will put you right back in La La Land, ranging from 11% to 12% ABV. And you know anything Deschutes puts out is going to be good. They haven’t been around since 1988 (the year Kenny graduated high school!) for nothing.
The classic Abyss is a deep, dark, barrel-aged Imperial Stout with hints of molasses, licorice, vanilla and cherry bark and is one of the brewery’s most recognized Reserves and award-winning brews since its first release in 2006. 11.2% ABV | 74 IBUs
The Abyss Port
The Abyss Port is the Imperial Stout 100% aged in Port barrels with all the familiar hallmarks of The Abyss like warming notes of coffee, smoky, chocolate, roast, molasses, licorice, vanilla, and cherry, but coupled with plum, jam, and grape notes as well as a distinct oak flavor from the Port barrels, some of which are over 30 years old and constructed from chestnut, South American oak, and Portuguese oak. 12%ABV | 70 IBUs
The Abyss Old World
The Abyss Old World evokes images of a 50 year old Spanish wine cellar. This variant is 80% aged in 30- 60 year old Sherry barrels and also includes all the familiar trademarks of The Abyss, but adds spice with a subtle black pepper aroma, coupled with raisin and fruit cake notes, and a very distinct oak flavor from the sherry barrels. 12% ABV | 74 IBUs.
Oskar Blues Brewery & Cigar City Brewing – Barrel Aged Bamburana
We were in the right place at the right time – Oskar Blues in Longmont, Colorado – when this bad boy was recently released. This is my number one pick for a Stout Valentine’s date or any day of the week when you need to sip (really, just sip) on a seriously heavenly beer. And at just over 12%, it’s the perfect can to share. While it is distributed nation-wide, keep your eyes open, this one is hard to find, but worth the search.
“Oskar Blues Brewery and Cigar City Brewing are stoked to announce the release of their innovative new collaboration beer, Bamburana. The imperial stout, brewed with figs and dates, is double barrel-aged – in both whiskey and brandy barrels – and aged once more in tanks with Amburana wood spirals. Bamburana is the first nationally distributed collaboration between the two breweries – a big, sticky, complex 12.2% ABV beer that will be released in 12oz cans in mid-January.” (OskarBlues.com)
Left Hand Brewing Company – Raspberry Milk Stout
Come on – It’s Valentine’s Day! Raspberries and Chocolate! In a beer! Duh!
“Meet the sultry sister of America’s Stout—Raspberry Milk Stout. We took pure milk chocolate bliss and kissed it with raspberries, still allowing for roasted coffee notes to shine through. Each luxurious, decadent sip lingers into a voluptuous finale. It’s a liquid raspberry truffle meant to cultivate curves and entice you for more. Dark and delicious has never been more tempting. So light the candles, turn on Al Green, and crack a can of Raspberry Milk Stout. You’ve just set the mood.” (LeftHandBrewing.com)
Founders Brewing Company – KBS Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout
This one may be hard to find, but if you’re smart, you find cool brews, buy them, store them, and them bring them out into the world only for that special someone. Which could just be you, but it’s always good to share (especially at 12.2%). Yes, even on powder days.
“What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight.” (FoundersBrewingCompany.com)
Founders Brewing is excellent. So much so, that it was one of their beers that made it to our very first Stout Life Approved post. Click here to find out which one.
Boulevard Brewing Company – Bourbon Barrel Quad
Fine, not quite a stout, but almost (kinda like Belgian’s equivalent to a stout). ‘Sides it stole my heart and was love at first sip this past week when we visited Boulevard for the first time ever. Yeah, I know, another barrel aged stout, but I can’t help it. They offer everything a woman wants in a man…I mean, beer!
“Based loosely on the Smokestack Series’ The Sixth Glass, this abbey-style quadrupel is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels where it ages for varying lengths of time, some for up to three years. Cherries are added to make up for the “angel’s share” of beer lost during barrel aging. Selected barrels are then blended for optimum flavor. The resulting beer retains only very subtle cherry characteristics, with toffee and vanilla notes coming to the fore.” (BoulevardBrewingCompany.com)
Epic Brewing Company – Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout
This stout gets better with age and needs no forgiveness. Indulge and share with only those that understand a good beer is not a PBR.
“Epic’s classic bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout is made with coffee and cocoa nibs. Brewed since 2011, each release of the beer varies slightly in ABV (usually hovering between 10% and 12%) and incorporates a distinct blend of coffee beans. This year’s version (2018) features Mexican, Guatemalan and El Salvador blends from Blue Copper Coffee from Salt Lake City. The cocoa lasts and lasts, and the coffee—accented with a soft blueberry skin fruitiness—is like an espresso shot. After the swallow, the dark chocolate shifts to the milky variety and lingers on the tongue forever and ever. Alcohol arrives a few beats after the swallow in the form of sugary whiskey and big but gentle warmth.” (Draft/All About Beer Magazine)
Cheers to finding the best stouts to help you create your stoutest Valentine’s Day ever!
If you need more recommendations, check out our Stout Life Approved section of the blog by clicking here.