Tuesday, February 12, 2013

There are three beers in Avery's demon series. The Beast is the least of them, and it is still damn good. It's a Belgian that's just shy of 17% ABV, and it kicks like a mule. But it's a sweet kick, with a sticky mouthfeel and a ton of brown sugar, molasses and something like rum in the flavor. It's such a sweet kick that you might not realize how hard it's hit you until you've finished it too quickly. So be careful.

Samael's oak aged ale is a barley wine, and the first barley wine I ever loved. This thing is wonderful, and I like it more every time I have it. In many ways it's a typical barley wine, with that oily mouth feel and the sweet, honey-like quality that dominates the flavor. No denying it, the 15.5% ABV grabs you right away, and it doesn't let go. Yet there's so much more going on here, and not just with that boozy, oak quality. Every sip offers other sweet tones ... graham crackers, candied sweet potatoes, caramel/vanilla ice cream, peanut brittle. It's like Christmas at your grandmothers, only you and granny are working on a buzz.

The third of the Demon series is my favorite stout, I like it even more than that vaunted Bourbon County ... which is, I admit, damn good. But Avery's Mephistopheles calls that Goose Creek offering Bitch County. Mephistopheles is an aggressive brew by any measure. It pours jet black with blood red highlights and a small head that doesn't last. The aroma is gigantic coffee, chocolate and booze. The flavor is booze, chocolate, booze, coffee, booze and booze. You'd expect that at 16%+ ABV. Mephistopheles demands that you pace yourself. And it's worth every timid sip.

Avery's demon series is my favorite "extreme beer" series by any brewery. Handle with care, frequently.

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