Ode to Darkness – Imperial Stout Vertical Tasting

Next Wednesday the Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub in West Seattle hosts a delicious tasting event featuring a vertical selection of big beers: three vintages of Imperial Stout.

The West Seattle brewpub is a bit off the beaten path for most Washington beer enthusiasts. For the Washington Beer Blog, Elliott Bay is our local pub. You can usually find us there about once a week. Because it is often thought of as a dinner destination more than a beer destination, “The Pub” (as everyone in West Seattle calls it) is underrated. That’s my opinion. Admittedly, I am biased.

When I say “underrated” I’m talking about the beer. Many people don’t know that Elliott Bay’s West Seattle brewer, Dan Ashley, consistently knocks out some great beers, most of which you have never enjoyed unless you frequent the pub.

Ode to Darkness is a tasting event featuring three vintages of Elliott Bay Brewing’s Imperial Stout. The event takes place next Wednesday, January 25th. The beer starts pouring at 4:00 p.m., with a “meet the brewers” session starting at 5:00 p.m.

Below, details about the event and the beers:


The days may finally be getting longer, but it is still that time of year where darkness rules Seattle. So in honor of that, Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub presents an Ode to Darkness. We have broken into our deep, dark cellar and pulled out a couple kegs from years past of our Imperial Stout. We will be serving a sample tray of three versions of our Imperial Stout: ’11, ’10, and ’10 aged in a bourbon barrel.  These samples will be complemented by candied walnuts and chocolate covered cherries, all for $8.00. The event starts at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan 25th, with a meet the brewers session starting at 5:00 p.m.

A little about the beers:
2011 Elliott Bay Imperial Stout: Imperial Stouts were originally brewed for exportation from England to the Imperial Court of Russia. To survive the long transportation in the days before refrigeration the beer was strong. Elliott Bay’s Imperial Stout was brewed to a high alcohol content (9+%) but kept a drier finish, yielding strong coffee and chocolate flavors and aromas, a silky texture from the use of oats, and a dry, coffee-like bitter finish. Significant amounts of hops were used to balance out the sweetness.

2010 Elliott Bay Imperial Stout: So what does age do to a beer? Hop oils breakdown, leaving a less bitter finish; Yeast continues to do its work, fermenting sugar into a little more alcohol; Probably most importantly, oxidation occurs and time mellows the edges from all that alcohol and hops, so the beer is smooth and well-rounded, showing more of the chocolate and coffee and less alcohol and bitterness.

2010 Elliott Bay Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout: Put an aged beer in a used bourbon barrel from the Heaven Hill Distillery and you get all the benefits of aging beer, plus the flavors and aromas developed during the whiskey’s time in the barrel. Vanilla, chocolate truffle, and oak flavors emerge, creating a wholly different experience: the smoothness and rich flavors of a well aged whiskey, without the alcohol bite…the best of the beer and whiskey worlds.

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