This is described on the bottle as an Imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers. I hope it lives up to its name.
Appearance: As I pour this 13% ABV monster sold as a $10-$12 twelve fluid ounce bottle, into my snifter glass, I notice it is like a diluted syrup coming out of the bottle in a murky stream that is the dark brown color of chocolate syrup. It collects as a black liquid in the glass, and looks as thick as espresso mixed with molasses. It is not transparent whatsoever and doesn't let any light through. The head matches that color palette as a light brown fresh espresso looking foam, that is lighter on top, at 1/3 inch that settles nicely without going completely away with small bubbles rising into it.
Nose: Coffee beans, cocoa, espresso, and alcohol. You get a sharpness that smells of vegetable that also gives your nose a bite as the chili peppers come through that combines with a bit of sweet grassy-ness that comes through from the hops. You can smell the vanilla bean mix with some floral notes!
Taste: Tastes of espresso and crisp, clean imperial hops with piney and floral notes only slightly masked by a dark chocolate and molasses depth that is healthily rounded out by the sharpness of hot chilis, so much that you can't tell if it is the bitterness of the hops or the spiciness of the chili peppers - but you can definitely feel the heat. You get a little something from the grain that gives it a good fresh ale taste. This reminds me of walking into a bakery that serves fresh bread and delicious espresso. It overwhelms you with wholesomeness. The vanilla bean gives a sweet, milk chocolatey sundae finish.
Mouthfeel: Like stated in the taste, the chili peppers really shine in the mouthfeel making a very syrupy beer sparkle - giving you more interest and more to taste when the hops fill your senses. This is where the chili peppers are made the star just by their sensation.
The fact that this is an Imperial stout and that every added nuance is not missed due to the tarry-molasses taste that this beer "should" have is a triumph. The flavors being cradled over your tongue by some angry chilies that aren't really spicy, and are instead invigorating, make this heavy beer surprisingly drinkable.
Overall: This is something that will give you the same feeling as having a double shot of espresso and a couple shots of booze at the same time. In other words, this will give you one of the most fun buzzes you can get from just one bottle. It's heaven in a glass for coffee, chocolate, and spice lovers like me. Why not have all three at once? Dessert and savory along with some beer and buzzworthy potential!! This makes up for the high price and six-pack sized bottle.
Food Pairings: This seems like the best beer to sit back and enjoy some of your most relaxing music followed by Rage Against the Machine. You could honestly enjoy this any time you want to enjoy something delectable and robust. This would not be a bad beer to have with something salty or to get stuck with around the cookie platter at the holidays. I could see pairing this with the obvious chocolate and spice, but that would be too easy. However, delicious. This might be all you need to have a relaxing time or to get your night started. This is far from a session beer or something you would want with a heavy meal, although it would stand up to smoky, or herby flavors. Grilled veggies, garlic, and raw greens would work if you forgot to stop for dinner. You could have this with ice cream, or infuse some ice cream topping with it. The best use for this beer to me is as an apéritif.
Eating this with VERY spicy food might distract you from all of the goodness there is to taste. The chili peppers are very subtle and make your mouth water as you are drinking it. A very nice exposition of the imperial hop! This is one of those very coveted types of beer that can stand alone and take on all competition. It is definitely in its own class among beers, and definitely at the top of the imperial stout list for craft beer lovers.
BOMB! / Imperial Stout aged ON coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and chili peppers / 13.0% ABV / Prairie Artisan Ales/
Review: Final Score: 9.9/10