Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Brew Review: Central Waters Satin Solstice Imperial Stout

Continuing to work my way through a great box of Wisconsin beers that I received from a friend last week, I tried my first beer from the Central Waters Brewing Company this evening: Satin Solstice Imperial Stout.

With an appearance that is a bit light for an imperial stout, this one pours a caramel color that turns black as it pools in the glass. Satin Solstice is adequately carbonated, but head retention is low, even with a somewhat aggressive pour. As the head recedes, a sticky blanket of lacing hangs on the sides of the glass, and the remaining carbonation becomes thin and fine like a wisp of smoke across the dark surface. Held to the light, this is black in the center, but light penetrates the top half inch or so, revealing the toffee colored hues.

The nose on this imperial stout is big on dark chocolate, a bit sweet, and creamy like lactose. Swirling the glass brings up more of that dairy sweetness as well as a little smoke, and raisin.

While the appearance suggested that Satin Solstice lacked the guts of an imperial stout, the flavor suggests otherwise. Bold from start to finish, the dominant flavor notes are dark chocolate and lactose, with a semi-sweet finish that contains a touch of smoke and a mineral aftertaste that lingers on the back of the tongue. Little perceived hop bitterness, but the dark roasty malts pick up the slack. Perceivable alcohol, but more "warm" than "hot". Tasty!

This beer has a medium viscosity, and is a bit sticky and coating. Several minutes after your last sip, you can still feel this one from your lips to the back of your throat. The carbonation is a bit prickly. It's not "soda" bad, but the smoother feel that finer carbonation could impart would be a welcome improvement.

This is an imperial stout, but it clocks in on the lighter end of the spectrum for the style. A bold beer overall, it has good strong flavor without being over the top, a comfortable level of heat, and medium body which makes it a very drinkable example of style that's often best enjoyed a little at a time.

The Verdict: B+

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