Long Trail Coffee Stout pours a dark black, but one droplet at a time appears an even darker red against the glass, like the blood of a ruby against an August sunrise. Hehe That's poetic, right? The head doesn't last too long, but it is a dark tan color that gives this brew a hearty look. The aroma is certainly coffee, but it is light and pleasant, and doesn't make one's nose wrinkle.
My first sip of this brew was probably the awesomest. I'm enjoying the coffee bitterness (and the 8% abv) and but the other herbal flavors are creeping in and starting to taste a bit medicinal to me. Don't get me wrong, I love Ricola... But the Long Trail Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout is coming up just short of the mark for me.
Look, this beer is clearly well-crafted (made with quality ingredients from Vermont Coffee Company) but for some reason it isn't lighting my fire right now. I think we should take a look at the VP's thoughts from an earlier post. He is the resident expert on coffee, and is a particular fan of a good stout. Or perhaps I should revisit my review when the bomber is gone. Or maybe you could send me your comments (hint, hint).
Actually, a Citizen Review may intrigue readers as well...Thanks for the review, Cheryl!
Even though the line that "separates" stouts from porters is thin and/or blurry, most craft beer drinkers I know have some expectations about which one is which. I kinda think that stouts are either extra dry (in the Irish style) or extra rich (in the imperial style), and porters make up a good bit of the middle ground. This, of course, from a drinker's point of view.
The Long Trail offering is big enough at 8% to earn an "Imperial" rating as far as I'm concerned. But it doesn't quite measure up to my recollections of other imperial stouts I've had, so maybe it can be an Imperial Porter. But that's typically the standard for a stout anyway, so why don't they call it: "Long Trail Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout.". I think that's a good idea.
Overall, I would suggest buying this beer outright if you just have to try every coffee brew out there. If you're not particularly fond of the style but you might like it if it's the perfect one, just try it instead. Maybe order it in a flight, or take a sip of someone else's. I liked it but didn't love it.