Belgians -are- easy
So this made me try Brother Shamus while I was at it, which I will report on as I sip it. Dead black--almost completely opaque. It's pretty seductive. The nose is a little like an imperial stout, but with less roastiness, more chocolate, and a lot of fruit and caramelly richness. On the palate it's got a lot of different shit going on: some fruity acidity, some fat, unctuous dark chocolate, a nice, firm bitterness holding it all together. I don't really remember Hercule Stout (the semi-model for this beer) that well, but this has got to be sort of comparable--it's too rich and interesting to be without its own merits. By the way, this proves that Crystal malts are critical for good stouts, particularly bigger stouts: this has 2 lbs 10 oz assorted Crystal malts, counting Special B, but not counting Carapils or Caramel Pils. That's a lot. There's also a full pound of roast malts, between roast barley, carafa, and chocolate. Which bears out my theory that it's almost impossible to overuse roast malts, pace many major authorities. As long as the mash'll convert, fuck it. So this beer is a success and I look forward to watching it evolve over the next year or so.