Beer Review 0065: Samuel Adams Black & Brew Coffee Stout

This is the first beer by the Boston Beer Company to be reviewed on this website. To be upfront and honest with you, Samuel Adams beers have never been my favorite. Most that I’ve tried have been merely mediocre, but I haven’t tried nearly enough. They make a ton of different beers (over fifty) if you’re keeping count.

While on a beer run a couple weeks ago, I noticed a sweet seasonal pack by Sam Adams that featured six different brews. The majority were holiday and winter themed, and included was this one, Black & Brew.

Black & Brew, as the name might suggest, is an English Stout that is flavored with Arabica Sumatran coffee beans. 1.5 pounds of the beans are used per barrel of beer, and they are added late in the brewing process to provide the most flavor possible.

According to the Samuel Adams website, this is the first year Black & Brew has been produced. The alcohol by volume (ABV) on this beer is 5.8%. Black & Brew is only available in the Winter Classics variety pack, which is a downer if you like the beer, because it’s a twelve pack and only two are this particular beer.

The pour gave an average size head that was dark tan in color, looking very nice atop a dark beer. The foam was creamy and frothy, lasting long and leaving behind excellent lace. The liquid itself was a very dark brown, opaque, and free of particles or sediment. It’s a very nice beer, visually.

To the nose, and things start to fall apart. Yes, there are aromas of roasted coffee, but that’s it. There’s no hops, although I’m sure they are in there. The malt is one dimensional on the roasted coffee, and even that is subdued. Judging by appearance, I was expecting my nose to be wowed, but it was disappointed. The redeeming quality here was a certain sweetness note that can’t really be described in words. Coffee beers can sometime have an acidic smell to them; this one is free of that and is actually the opposite.

On the taste buds, Black & Brew definitely delivers loads of rich roasted coffee, with a creamy and sweet finish that turns more toward bittersweet chocolate. There’s a healthy tart acidity present from the coffee beans, and the mouthfeel is drying. It’s pleasant and tasty if one dimensional.

If you hate coffee, avoid this beer. But if you love java, dive right in. This is a great beer for you, and it’s pretty decent despite the slowpoke aromatics and the fact that it’s merely one dimensional in the flavor boat. A good coffee flavor, a nice texture — cheers.

Samuel Adams Black & Brew Coffee Stout, 79 points. Price: $14.99 for Winter Classics variety pack, in which you receive two of this beer.

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