Had to take a moment to post a thank you to faithful reader and Birmingham Beer Maven John E. for including me in an epic stout tasting last night. John and his compatriots graciously invited me to our favorite local watering hole to sample an absolute murderer’s row of the deepest, darkest brews on Earth. Plenty of 4 Hop Tasting Notes will be gracing these pages in the near future, but for now I just wanted to share the bottle list with our readers so they could appreciate John E. & Company’s munificence.*

*I promised John’s ginger friend that I would use this space to retract any defamatory statements that I had made in earlier posts regarding her people. This particular ginger is as lovely, personable and charming as can be. As such, I heartily rescind any previous slanderous statements I made towards ginger-folk. That being said, I have my doubts as to how pure-bred a ginger she actually is. I think she’s only half-ginger at best.


  • 3 Floyds Dark Lord ’09 (Simply stunning)
  • 3 Floyds Dark Lord ’10 (The Baron and I will be writing a joint tasting note on the Dark Lord shortly, stay tuned)
  • Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout (A throw-in from John E’s friend Flip who also provided the Dark Lords…he claimed it was nothing special, but I thoroughly enjoyed it)
  • Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper (About as easy-drinking an RIS as you can find)
  • Southern Tier Mokah (In terms of amplitude of flavor, nothing else touched this beer)
  • Deschutes Black Butte XXI (The only true porter on the list, but it’s a special one)
  • Deschutes The Abyss (For my money, this is about as good as beer gets)
  • Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Stout (To give you an idea of how ridiculous this list is, the Bluegrass was our “palate cleanser”)
  • Founders Imperial Stout (Awesome)
  • Founders Breakfast Stout (Awesomer)
  • Founders KBS (Awesomest)
  • Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout 2009 (Say what you will about DFH…and we’ve said it all…but the Worldwide is a winner)
  • Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout 2005 (Of course, a five-year-old bottle is even better)
  • B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher (I loves me some B.O.R.I.S.)
  • Old Rasputin XII (Easily the finest nose I’ve ever come across on a stout)
  • Lagunitas Imperial Stout (Not as good as their hop-bombs, but still really goddamn good)
  • Avery The Czar (I had forgotten just how amazing this beer is…Avery is just rock-solid with every style of brew)
  • Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout 2009 (Perhaps the best coffee brew there is)
  • Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout 2006 (For whatever reason, the COIS doesn’t age all that well…it was good, but very muted)
  • Terrapin The Dark Side (Not a lot of Belgian Stouts out there, and this one is an absolute gem…)
  • Allagash Black (…and this one is even better)
  • Stone Imperial Stout (Like Dogfish Head, the Aleheads have hammered Stone from time to time, but there’s no questioning the brilliance of this brew)
  • Cigar City Hunaphu Imperial Stout (The biggest surprise of the evening…maybe my favorite beer of the night)

Thanks again to John E. & friends for letting Brother Barley participate in the fun. In terms of quality of brew and drinking companions, it was truly a perfect evening.


  1. The mere fact that you assembled all those stouts in one place without the world ending may disprove the basis for some of the world’s religions. Alas, had this tasting occurred earlier, Sir Magnus might have pulled the trigger on his dream of moving to Birmingham and opening a bar (and by “opening a bar” I mean “moving into your guest room and going to J. Clyde’s every other night”).

    Disparaging remarks about redheads are near and dear to me. Nevertheless, we may need to cut the ginger race a little more slack. I have heard of a number of studies done over the last five years or so indicating that redheads feel more pain than the rest of us, usually as measured by the amount of local anesthetic they require for standard medical and dental procedures–and that researchers have identified a gene that is likely responsible for this trait (the same gene that causes red hair, as luck would have it). (Slouch Six-Pack may have the same gene, though his hair is not red.)

  2. Yikes… if Imperial Stouts were left-handed power hitters, this lineup would be the ’11 Red Sox. Can’t wait to see the tasting notes- especially Dark Lord, Abyss, and Huhahpu.

  3. glad you could make it last night. it really was an amazing line up of brews. as a consequence, today’s work day has been a little difficult. i will say, however, you know it was a great time when you are already thinking about the next tasting as you’re rolling out of bed at 7:00 am on a monday morning feeling much less than 100%.

  4. ’twas a lovely evening indeed. Thanks for going easy on me this time. I tried to redeem myself. Gingerness is both a blessing and a curse (well, actually, just a curse). I can’t wait to read your tasting notes.

  5. I
    Uh, I mean
    How come?
    But, this is just
    How on Earth?
    Wait, did you just say?
    Hold on
    I mean, this is just the greatest lineup of beers that I’ve ever come across.
    I, I, I need to be alone with my thoughts (of jealousy).

  6. Truly a glorious evening. These beers were so delicious, let’s just say the tasting notes suffered a drastic decline as the night went on, but my tummy was in pure euphoria. Thanks to B-Mac for gracing us with his presence. Much appreciated. Good time had by all. Hopefully we can try to equal the awesomeness soon with an IPA Extravaganza. I’ve never been so happy to go to a deep dark place as I was when I tasted the Abyss. Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to go back to that dark place. The light be damned.

  7. The Nelson is very good. I got that this summer when I went to San Diego. I drank the Oak-Aged Unearthly with Spencer the other day. Damn good.

  8. With no disrespect to those who disrespect Dogfish, I say throw cost to the winds, and grab me a few bottles of the World Wide Stout. Until then, I’ll tide myself over with the Old Rasputin, washed down with some Brooklyn Black Chocolate please.

  9. I think the Avondale Saison will be a very popular beer. It is good and has nice spices. I’m a Fantome-head when it comes to saisons, so it’s not what I like best in a saison, as it is not sufficiently funky for my tastes. No use of weird bugs involved. But a really funky beer probably wouldn’t do well as the flagship of a new Bham brewery, so they’re probly smart not to go the “Fantome” route.

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