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Imperial Stout

By Jake Endres, co-founder

I think we make good stouts.  I think we've been making good stouts for years.  I had an interaction recently with someone on Untappd that I found to be pretty funny.  He had checked in a stout we released in May called Dulce and said "Looks like Crooked Run finally figured out stouts."  I respond to Untappd reviews once in a blue moon, and I commented something along the lines of "Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!  That's actually pretty much the same stout we've been making since 2016.  If you like that, check out the BA stuff!"

I really wasn't trying to be too snarky, and thankfully he responded that he would do that and was excited to try them.  But I will say I think our stouts have been more than decent for a while.  They don't really get a lot of attention save for maybe one or two (Jolly and Melt) but they're really as good as many other stuff out there and have been for quite some time. 

Now that we have more tanks, we've been able to release more of them.  Basically during the summer we release one adjuncted milk stout per month.  Neapolitik, Melt, Skilletized, Torte Reform, etc.  These beers are all fairly similar and widely appealing.  Most of them feature cacao nibs and vanilla, two ingredients that I feel improve most any stout.

While we release these pretty straightforward beers during the summer, we save the special stuff for the winter.  Our barrel aged stouts have a couple of key differences.

  • They do not contain lactose
  • They are much higher ABV: 16-18% vs 10%
  • They spend a year or more in barrels
  • They use less adjuncts
  • They are bottled, not canned

So far, we've released the following bottled stouts:

  • Glory.  Rye whiskey BA
  • Virtue.  Port barrel BA
  • Disenchanted.  Double bourbon BA
  • Vain: Red Wine BA w/cacao nibs and coffee
  • Spellbound: Apple brandy BA
  • Vainglory: Double bourbon BA w/coconut, coffee, and cacao nibs
  • Jolly: Brandy and bourbon double BA w/cinnamon and vanilla

One thing that is interesting about these beers is that there have been some discrepancies in reported ABV with some stouts, including ours.  However, we realized this a while ago before "ABVgate" in 2019 when a lot of breweries got called out for inflated ABVs.  We tested Disenchanted back in 2018 and it came back as 14 instead of 18.  This wasn't as off as some peoples' stouts, but it still wasn't acceptable.  So we retooled our fermentation process with these beers and we're actually most likely going to have to blend some of our releases for this year down since some of the stuff in barrels is around 20% ABV. 

Going forward, I think this release schedule and methods have been working very well for us, and I'd like to release even more stouts this year than last.  With the amount of beer we currently have in barrels, we're well on our way.