The Iowa Brewery Top 10 for 2017 | Porter and Stout Edition - The Iowa Beer Blog

A blog about the beer produced, distributed and consumed in the great state of Iowa.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Iowa Brewery Top 10 for 2017 | Porter and Stout Edition



Continuing the Top 10 rankings of 2017, today we line up the best of Iowa's Porter and Stout beers. Looking at the list it's been a great year. Iowa recently saw releases from West O, Alluvial, Big Grove and there's still Torrent, Alluvial (again) and Pulpit Rock to come. The line starts around the corner.






10. BIG GROVE BREWERY - RICHARD THE WHALE AGED IN EAGLE RARE 10.5% ABV
Fresh off a recent release of their big barrel-aged stout, Big Grove should not be ignored. They produce Richard the Whale, aged in bourbon barrels, and add adjuncts to produce a coffee version, pecans and almonds, hazelnut and also this "reserve" version.  It's big and beautiful and get whatever version of their "Whale" while it's currently making the rounds.

9. MADHOUSE BREWING - CARPE DIEM 13 % ABV
In 2016, this beer, like VIP and Black and Blue, had infection issues months after bottling. The Des Moines brewery was able to learn from their mistakes and make an even better bourbon-aged maple syrup beast. There's Kona Coffee and Iowa Maple Syrup aged in bourbon barrels in there. They've also produced Freedom Toast (coming to bottles in 2018), Say N'Smore and Maple VIP as taproom offerings. It's safe to say Madhouse has their maple dialed in.

8. BACKPOCKET BREWING - 5th ANNIVERSARY BA RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT 12.3%
Every once in awhile you belly up to the bar and see a beer on tap and take a wild go at it. Admittedly, my expectations for a Backpocket beer were low but this beer blew me out of the water. There's a perfect pairing of oak from the barrel and vanilla, coconut and deep, dark chocolate. This beer is a candy bar in a bottle and if you missed the bottle release like me, well, happy trading.

7. ALLUVIAL BREWING - BARREL AGED AUROX W/MAPLE 11.3% ABV
This is the beefed up version of the base beer that stands alone as one of the best stouts in Iowa. Aurox boasts 11 grains and packs that maple sweetness that laces the glass like a good bourbon. Adding 10 months in a barrel only made this beer better. Getting myself to open my bottle from the March release (160 bottles) will require one helluva special occasion.


6. TOPPLING GOLIATH - MORNIN' DELIGHT 12% ABV
For a non-barrel aged beer, this really packs a punch at 12% ABV. I think you can have a healthy debate between Aurox, MD and Carpe Diem as the best maple syrup beer in Iowa. Scarcity can impact hype but with TG stouts, the hype is real.

5. PULPIT ROCK BREWING - $TICKER $HOCK IMPERIAL RIS 11.1% ABV
We're only a week away from a barrel-aged version of this Almond Joy candy bar stout release. If I'm lucky enough to get a pull of that beer I'll surely consider it for 2018 (because it's my blog and I can do whatever I want). While barrel-aged beers litter the list, this one ranks well without it.

4. PULPIT ROCK BREWING - RECHONCHO IMPERIAL RIS 12.2% ABV
Absent from the list is PR's Pudgy but the Spanish version isn't. The popular Pudgy gets the Mexican hot chocolate treatment with chile peppers, cocao, cinnamon and Mexican vanilla beans and coffee. It's a beautiful marriage of flavors blended perfectly so that not one overpowers the other.

3. ALLUVIAL BREWING - BA AUROX WITH LIQUID CACAO AND COCONUT 10.7% ABV
We were lucky enough to see this beer release twice in 2017. Once in March with the above mentioned maple version and again in November. Each batch rested on different barrels. The first batch rested for seven months on 1st run Four Roses barrels. Batch II sat for 10 months in first run rye whiskey barrels. A gun to my head and I have to pick batch one but batch II was still a little hot. Either way, a bourbon flavored Almond Joy in a glass is what you get.

2. TOPPLING GOLIATH - ASSASSIN AMERICAN IMPERIAL STOUT  12.8% ABV
Originally bottled and available late in 2016, Assassin officially release January 13th at the brewery. 80,000 people registered online for a chance at Assassin and KBBS. There may be a day in the not-too-distant future where some of those 80,000 can easily grab an Assassin at their local Wine and Spirits. With the new facility in Decorah, there's talk of Assassin and variants like vanilla, coffee and maybe maple down the road. We can dream.

1. TOPPLING GOLIATH - KENTUCKY BRUNCH BRAND STOUT 12% ABV
As noted above, 80,000 people tried to get a ticket for one of these magical beers. One of my tastes came at the Iowa Craft Brew Festival when a bottle opened and it was like you dropped a lollipop on top of an ant hill. Little worker ants swarmed and the longest arms won out. This beer makes people do crazy things. It's that good. Chocolate, maple, coffee, bourbon. Even heaven would make an exception for this beer.


Wingspan 


Just missed the cut:
Pudgy, Pour-Over Porter w/coffee (Pulpit Rock), BA Muddy Water (Barn Town), Gazprom! (Lion Bridge), Milk Man Stout on Nitro, Anniversary Porter (Confluence), Aurox w/Maple (Alluvial), Tip the Cow, Zach's Mexican Donuts (Single Speed), El Jefe (Madhouse), BA Vanilla Porter (Boone Valley), Railgater (Reclaimed Rails), BA Jesus of a Forklift w/ Coconut (Exile), Rum BA Oja (Iowa Brew Co), Tatanka (Lark), Island Monster (Millstream), Peanut Butter Porter (Lake Time) and 2nd Anniversary (515)

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