Review: New Albanian Brewing Company Thunderfoot Imperial Stout

I’ve previously mentioned ( how much I like the “shameless lack of sophistication” in New Albanian’s labeling. Thunderfoot Imperial Stout is a perfect example. It’s a picture of a giant foot comign out of the sky and crushing a chunk of a city, with the caption “Ultimate Urban Renewal.” It’s almost a chiaroscuro in its work with light and shadow, and it’s honestly just ridiculous. I love it.

The beer has an aggressively alcoholic nose (although Ann didn’t get that — she said it smelled like coffee left on the burner too long), and the color is like badly used motor oil — nearly black but with the strong suggestion of brown. (I’ll put it this way — for the first few minutes, it gave me the memory of chocolate brown; I was surprised at its blackness every time I looked at it.)

The head, which was thin and finely bubbled, was vaguely purplish. I don’t know what that’s about.

It’s supposed to have 84 IBU’s, but honestly to me it tasted more like somewhere around 30 to 40 IBU’s.

Then is the actual flavor. It’s malty but not sweet; smoky but fruity. In fact, the fruit was difficult to figure out, but I finally decided it’s sort of a dried cherry flavor that’s serving as an accent the way chocolate serves many other stouts. There is a hint of molasses, although the mouthfeel is medium (or even light) with moderate coating.

Honestly? So many Imperial stouts try to make their bones with throat-punching bitterness and deep chocolate or coffee notes, and it was kind of refreshing to have one that relied more on fruit hints and just standard stout flavor.

Like most imperial stouts, I’m having trouble coming up with a really good pairing; I’m not even sure a deep chocolate dessert would be quite right. I think this might be the perfect “I got in really late and would very much like to finish my night with a big strong beer and a quiet house” beer.

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