Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Posted By: Nomonanoto Sidama | At: 11/28/2012 08:11:00 PM
Posted By: Nomonanoto Sidama | At: 11/28/2012 07:43:00 PM
Get ready to wake up and face the coming winter days with a pint of Aces and Ates stout.
Raleigh’s Big Boss Brewery has rolled out their winter stout, Aces and Ates, and it sure is tasty. Created by one of Big Boss’ founders, Brad Wynn, Aces is a beer that will wrap its big hairy arms around you during the long and lonely winter nights. Traditionally stout beers referred to the strongest porter beers a brewery had to offer, often boasting seven percent to eight percent alcohol by volume. Big Boss’ winter seasonal offering comes in around nine percent abv.
“[Aces and Ates] is an American stout in the sense that it’s not using classic Irish yeast,” BrooksHamaker, operations manager at Big Boss Brewery, said. “It is very rich; it lends itself to coffee very well. The body of beer is relatively heavy, and coffee is, or can be relatively heavy. And the two just blend really well and people just like it. It’s a great Saturday morning beer, before a football game, for example; it’s like breakfast.”
Aces and Ates is best when consumed from a pint glass. And according to Dave Rogers, head of marketing at Big Boss, “[It should also be consumed] around 50-55 degrees in the responsible quantity of your choosing.”
Looking at some of the qualities of the beer, it pours a dark black with some red hue on the edges. Unlike many stouts, Aces and Ates has no head, or at least not much of one; the half a finger of head it does have quickly disappears with no lacing (the foam that sticks to the glass).
Aesthetics aside, the real meat of this beer is found assaulting your other senses, notably smell and taste. This is a beer that is brewed with 10 different malts; many others are brewed with only one or two. It also happens to be brewed with a healthy dose of roasted coffee. Smelling this beer is like waking up to the smell of coffee, the aroma is so pronounced. Besides coffee, there is a slight hint of citrus from the hops.
Fun fact: Larry’s Beans, a local coffee roaster, supplies Big Boss with a special blend of Ethiopian coffee from the Sidama region, specifically roasted for Aces and Ates.
“We’re just looking for a well-rounded stout ale to complement the coffee flavor that comes later,” Rogers said. “Chocolate malt, roasted barley and flaked barley make up much of the body of this beer.”
The beer’s most prominent feature is its flavor. The roasted coffee that comes out of this beer is as strong as a grizzly bear. Even Juan Valdez would want some of this. The flavor has staying power too— it does not just go away after drinking it; it sticks around, gets comfortable and stays for dinner. Some other notes about the beer were that it’s resiny, full-flavored and has some carbonation. Mouthfeel was a bit watery. There are some hints of chocolate and vanilla in it as well, but coffee is clearly the focus flavor-wise, the bright, shining, sun-in-your-eye focus.
According to Hamaker, Aces and Ates has been in rotation for the past four years.
Aces and Ates is a solid beer, especially for those looking for a strongly flavored dark beer. Those who prefer lighter beers such as lagers, pale ales or IPAs may find this brew a bit overwhelming. But don’t take my word for it; Aces can currently be found seasonally on draft at Big Boss from November until December.