Outblack - De Struise Brouwers & Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Woesten-Vleteren
Stillwater Artisanal and De Struise are two brewers I've had very little from. In the past year I've seen a lot of Stillwater beers pop up on shelves at different liquor stores everywhere I've traveled. It turns out Stillwater, like Mikkeller, doesn't have a brewery of their own, so their beers are all collaborations that are brewed at a someone else's brewery. De Struise is a Belgian craft brewer that I've heard a lot of great things about but I've only had one of two beers that have carried their label. I'm excited to try this beer, but I'm not entirely sure what to expect... after all, the bottle just says it's a 10% ABV Belgian ale that was brewed with barley, oats, wheat, rye, hops, sugar and yeast. So, a lot of stuff, but nothing crazy.
This beer pours a dark brown color and quickly turns a deep dark black and kicks up a thick khaki colored head. That fluffy head fizzles out pretty quickly and leaves you with just a thin layer of suds on top of your beer. There isn't any head to block the aroma of this beer, yet it smells very subdued... There's a chocolaty, cocoa-y and sweet aroma to this beer, but it's very subtle. You might be expecting something more bold from a 10% ABV Belgian beer.
Outblack doesn't have a terribly bold dark flavor, but it tastes great. It's a slightly minty, sweet chocolaty, caramel and dark fruit blended Strong Ale. It's a unique combination of flavors and it works wonderfully. I really enjoyed this beer, it's big at 10% but it goes down very smooth and sweet with a touch of minty spice and tangy dark fruit. This is a beer I'd share with anyone who wants to experience how complex a beer can be, while remaining drinkable and incredibly enjoyable.