Blending beers is no new concept. People have been making black and tans for years. The concept of mixing two different beers probably dates back to the day someone came up with a second brewing recipe. We are a curious breed, we love to experiment.
Of late some brewers have gone the extra yard for us and have pre blended some of their flagship beers. One beer that comes to mind is Dogfish Head’s Burton Barton.
Burton Barton is a blend of two different styles. An oak-aged English strong ale is blended with DFH’s celebrated 90 Minute I.P.A.. The aggressive hopping of the 90 minutes mixed with the oak from the English strong ale makes for some interesting aromas and flavors.
There is some citrus coming from the northwest hops and a bit of vanilla in the oak. At 10% ABV and 70 IBUs (International Bitteriing Units) like a lot of Dogfish Head’s beers this is a great one to lay down for a couple of years.
Southern Tier Brewing Company has a different approach to blending their beers. Gemini is a blend of two beers not quite the same style, we could say they are from the same family.
Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale and Unearthly Imperial IPA are blended to make the huge beer with 6 different hop strains! Weighting in at 10.5% ABV this is yet another great beer to put away for a special occasion.
One of my favorite beers in this world of blended beer is Collaboration Not Litigation Ale. Russian River Brewing and Avery Brewing realized the both had Belgian-style ales named Salvation. Instead of getting into a legal pissing match over the name of the beer they decided to create a blend of the two.
Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing have shown the brewing community that brewing and drinking is a social event on any level. They also produced a great beer in the process.
This brings me to my reasoning for writing this column, Yeti. I have always loved Great Divide Brewing’s Yeti Imperial Stout. Yeti keeps evolving before my eyes.
First with Oak Aged Yeti a fantastic brew with some great natural esters of vanilla and chocolate. If this was not enough the next step was to add espresso to the Yeti recipe. Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout that is a mouthful for a beer name. Yeti once again took on a new personality when Chocolate Oaked Aged Yeti was released.
Today I am going to look at these beers on their own and then I am going to blend them. Not quite a black and tan I guess we can call this a Black and Black.
Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout – pours like 30 weight with a thin light brown head. The espresso is dominate in the aroma as is toasted grains, vanilla and chocolate. The mouthfeel is full with a nice oak finish. The finish has a lingering bitterness as hops and burnt grains share the spotlight with a generous amount of alcohol.
Chocolate Oaked Aged Yeti Imperial Stout – looks the same as the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. The aroma is very different. There is a sweeter chocolate aroma to this beer. The alcohol seems to beer more noticeable in the aroma of this beer. There is a great mouthfeel to this beer it is very smooth. The finish has a bit of pepper in it along with a bit of vanilla from the oak.
Blended Chocolate Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout – This is a 50/50 blend of the two beers. The color is a pitch black with a modest brown head. The aroma is of some kind of Starbucks concoction. Like one of those Caramel Macchiato drinks. There is coffee, vanilla and caramel aromas jumping out of the glass. Unlike the Starbucks beverage there is also a bunch of chocolate and molasses aromas with a cloying under tone of alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and there is a lot of different things going on here.
The bitterness of the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti is playing off of the chocolate very nicely. There is still that big vanilla aroma and flavor going on with some great toasted grain flavors. As I dive back into the aroma after a sip I am also picking up a bit of citrus. This is really nice. A mocha stout masterpiece, dessert in a glass.
Beyond the Black and Tan, we now have the Black and Black. I am convinced any beer lover would enjoy this blend. People Get Yeti, actually get both of them.