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Beer Review #5

Posted by on February 29, 2012

Remember how I said we were gearing up for a blizzard? That was Saturday, and since then we’ve had two different massive winter storms head our way…then disappear. It’s a shame, because our next Beer Review is brewed for exactly that kind of weather.

Beer: Empyrean Fallen Angel Sweet Stout

Origin: Lincoln, Nebraska

ABV: 5.5%

IBUs: 17

February is known in some beer-drinking circles as Stout Month. We were granted an extra day for the celebration this year, so I’m reviewing another stout, this time from Empyrean Ales. I discovered Empyrean last year during my time working in Nebraska. It’s one of the few things I missed, until I found this beer while in Grand Forks at Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop. I’m thrilled to find that kind of selection in my new home state.

With the name “Fallen Angel”, you expect something that’s both sweet and dark. When you pour the beer out of the bottle, you immediately see what’s dark about the beer. Like most stouts, it’s nearly pitch black. There is a very, very light scent to the beer, which is marginally sweeter than your average stout. It’s not a strong smell. It seems to be playing hard-to-get, hoping to entice us to venture further.

The first taste brings…wait, I need a second taste. Ok. It’s not a beer you can wrap yourself around in one sip. The flavor is subtle. It still has the creamy taste and texture of a stout, but there just isn’t as much of it. It is sweeter than a normal stout. I guess the fact they call it a sweet stout can be explained there. Empyrean’s website says they use lactose sugar when brewing this beer. It gives it a distinct flavor I haven’t seen in a stout before. The finish is pretty clean, but it leaves me thirsty. The Fallen Angel is a temptress, who gives you a light taste and leaves you desiring more.

The further down the glass I get, the more the sweet taste starts taking center stage. That could just be my taste buds adapting, but the slight shift makes it interesting.

Food I’d pair this beer with: Something that’s also sweet. The beer is sweet for a stout, but it’s hardly a pixie stick. I’m drinking this as I eat an apple, which pairs quite nicely. Two flavors which aren’t overpowering, doing a taste tango on my tongue.

Verdict: It’s good. I enjoy it, but I feel the Fallen Angel might not have fallen far enough. It’s a light flavor, which might help make this unique flavor more palatable for those unaccustomed to it, but I’d love it if it had a little more punch to it.

P.S. I should mention that according to the Empyrean website, Fallen Angel is only available from February through April, so find it quickly if you want it!

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