Epic 825 State Stout – 5.8% ABV
I just noticed when I started planning this post that this is the second brewery from Salt Lake City, UT I’m reviewing in a short period of time. For an area of the country notoriously known for its straight edge, strict no-nonsense small town lifestyle, I must say I’m surprised and impressed that they’re churning out such great beverages. When reading the title line, one might wonder what I’m referring to when I say “elevated.” This 825 State Stout is part of Epic’s Elevated Series of beers, being the second of three series in their line. The other two are the Classic Series and the Exponential Series. I guess this would be a mid-range beer for them. The Classic Series explores your general styles of brew while your Exponential Series goes all out with the harder to find small batch varieties. This is the happy medium, although they say this is where they really explore the dimensions of each beer style, as well as their brewer’s ability. Not a bad starting point for me. I’m game.
This Epic 825 State Stout bottle is a bomber and has a nice bold label on it. Everything stands out nice and clear. I’m hoping this is representative of the beer itself and a sign of things to come. We all know I like my beers big and bold. Each bottle is numbered and they even give you liner notes on their website as to how this batch varies from the one before it. The site will list for you the types of malts, grains and hops used in each batch. This one was labeled number 13. How convenient for me, as that is my birthday and lucky number. It also says at the top that this is a nice beer to cozy up next to the fire with. I’m all about that, especially in the winter months.
Pouring this out, I decided to use my weissen glass rather than a tulip glass. I wanted to pour the whole thing out at once, just to give you an idea of the size and scope of this brew. Party foul on my part, but whatever. I’m sure the beer gods will forgive me. This brew comes out thick and dark brown/nearly black, with plenty of khaki-colored tan head building on top of it. As a side note, this thick tan head has some serious staying power. Seeing this foamy mountain of joy on top of the brew means plenty of aromatic goodness to soak in. Time to bury my nose in it.
My nostrils tell me this is roasted malt, coffee and bitter dark chocolate I’m contending with. There is a very subtle pine note, but it’s likely I’m just getting more of that bitter chocolate. Who knows? This smells pretty good, so without further adieu, I take a pull. The beer tastes much like it smells. Right off the bat I’m getting hit with the coffee flavor, quickly followed by some chocolate and a little bitterness. Only a touch of it though, before it gives way to the cream finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. There is something in this that almost makes me think this could qualify as an oatmeal stout. It is after all brewed with a good amount of flaked oats in it.
Pretty good beer here – a nice intro to stouts for the uninitiated and a tasty selection for even the experienced and cynical dark beer drinker. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on more of these, especially if they vary a bit from batch to batch. Exploration is half the fun. Whichever one you decide to grab is up to you, and up to the guy stocking the shelf. Either way, you’re likely to find something good to enjoy cozying up on a cool night. Cheers!