Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gentleman Scholar Brewing Espresso Stout

I opened this unknown beer with a bit of aggression to the tune of Def Leppard's Escariot, hoping to finally kick the the soar throat that's been bugging me for days.  I've never heard of Gentleman Scholar Brewing before and was even more surpised to see that their LLC is on Westwood and their brewing headquarters is in El Monte.  But I was sold on it by a great silver and black label with a skeleton in the style Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas.

True to it's name it smells like a coffee beans and malt, but it's not that good, deep, rich coffee smell that you get off your morning cup, nor is it the thick espresso shot served to you at Italian espresso bar.  it smells more like an oversweetened machine made cup from 7-11.  Being a heavy coffee drinker that drowns himself in dark roasted fair-trade, organic, dark roasted coffee daily, this was not the smart introduction the Scholar should be looking for.
The taste didn't stray much farther from here and was really not much more than an extension of the aromas.  The front end has too much carbonation for a stout and the small bit of coffee flavor gets almost completely dominated by the watery malts that seem only an empty shell of their former sweetness.  The back end is a rush of all these flavors with little grace or balance, leaving you with the feeling that you've just drank the coffee grinds from someone else's cup.

Perhaps this beer could have redeemed itself if it had a thicker body to carry some of the malt richness on.  For such a bold creation, 7% does seem a little low, and I wonder if increased alcohol content wouldn't have created more viscosity for the flavors to grow and the body to thicken.  Instead you're left with a beer that has little to nothing in the way of backbone, which for me – a beer lover born from stouts – makes for a sad day indeed.

Espresso Stout: *

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