Beer Review 0275: Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

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Here we go with another can offering from Oskar Blues, produced in Lyons, Colorado. Founded in November 2002 by Dale Katechis, this brewery puts all their beer in cans, and for good reason.

Just a few points to make about cans:

-Cans are lighter, thus making for easier shipping
-Cans do not allow any light into beer
-Cans are easier to recycle than glass bottles
-Cans cool faster in the refrigerator, meaning you can enjoy your beer sooner rather than later

Probably the most important point is this: Oskar Blues uses cans made by the Ball Corporation, which uses a special coating in the can to prevent any off-flavors.

Ten Fidy is a big beer, coming in at 10.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 98 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). While Oskar Blues doesn’t exactly announce a schedule for this beer, I’ve only seen it available in the winter months, and it usually flies off the shelf when it appears.

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Pouring produced an oily ink black beer, with a muddy consistency while glugging out of the can. The head was dark brown and was of average size, creamy in texture, and long lasting. This is a beastly looking brew; opaque and so dark, I couldn’t get a gauge on particles and sediment. Lacing was most excellent, leaving thin, solid sheets of dark brown suds all the way down the glass.

Chalk up another WOW in the aromatics category. Ten Fidy is like a dark chocolate cookie, fresh baked, sitting in the glass. Huge blasts of chocolate, coffee, and caramel rock the smelling sense; this was very sweet and featured an even darker edge with a minor note of dark fruit/grape. There was also a small floral hop note, some toffee, and you do get a bit of the 10.5% alcohol, but it only enhances the deep chocolate and coffee flavors. This is a pungent one, too; you smell it across the room after you’ve poured it. And it indeed makes you want to take the glass to lip…

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…and when I did, this one surprisingly starts out a little slow. There’s a lightly tart dark fruit/grape note up front, which turns your palate upside down as the middle of the sip opens to reveal a blanket layer of caramel, on which a bevy of dark chocolate is doled out, along with edges of black, fresh roasted coffee, and a kiss of smoke. A nice, creamy mouthfeel, and a finish that goes on seemingly forever — it begins by hitting the sinus with a brief alcohol burn, then even more chocolate, before finally giving you some hop kick and turning moderately (to almost heavily) bitter. Without a doubt, this is a full-bodied brew with a nice, thick, creamy mouthfeel.

A couple of years ago, if you told me something like this came from a can, I would have laughed at you. But now, I’m a big believer in the aluminum and a few of my highest regarded beers have come from a can. This one joins them — I do think this is a classic beer, but I also believe the finish to be a touch too bitter. Sometimes, bitterness in beers gives off notes of salt, to my palate, and this one has that going on. Still, there’s enough sweetness in other parts of the taste to make up for it. Ten Fidy is SCREAMING to be put in a barrel! Oskar Blues! Make it happen!

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, 98 points. Price: $13.99 US for a four pack.

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