Beer Review 0287: Boulevard Dark Truth Imperial Stout

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When Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) finally became available recently here in North Carolina, I rushed out and bought one of everything they decided to initially distribute here. This is my last Boulevard beer — hopefully they send more at some point — and it is an Imperial Stout from their acclaimed Smokestack Series of beers.

The Smokestack Series is Boulevard’s avenue to explore and play with beers that may be traditional in style but could also be daring experiments. Dark Truth stout is a year-round offering from that portfolio, available in four-packs.

Brewed to 9.7% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 60 IBUs (International Bitterness Units), this Imperial Stout has one hell of a malt bill: Amber 50, Cara 120, Cara 300, Chocolate malt, Chocolate rye, flaked oats, Golden Naked oats, malted rye, Pale malt, roasted barley, and wheat malt! The hops are short and sweet: Hallertau Tradition, Perle, and Saphir. And, like most Boulevard beers, this has a Belgian yeast strain, which in this beer is to lend dark fruits.

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Release from bottle produced a large, creamy and dense head, tan in color, and long lasting atop a classically ink black Stout. This beer is opaque, even around the edges, and I noticed no particles or sediment present in the pour. Lacing is magnificent, coating the glass in a solid, even, and thin tan sheet.

To keep with the classic theme, the aromas are classic Imperial Stout — lots of sweet grape, coffee, and chocolate are up front, with a backing refrain of smoke, and dark fruits (fig and prune). The 9.7% ABV is completely hidden and this is a nice, inviting scent.

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On the sip, there’s an initial grape bubblegum blast that is quickly overran by lots of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. A hint of smoke lingers and ushers in some spiciness thanks to the rye malt, which brings on a finish that coats the palate with black coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate and ample (but not annoying or overwhelming) smoke. The finish was drying to my tastebuds and made me want another sip. Dark Truth is full-bodied and has a foamy mouthfeel.

While a rich beer, the drinkability here is high, especially with the alcohol as hidden as it is. I loved the rye component, which gave just the right amount of subtle spice to make things really interesting. Otherwise, what we have here is a classic Imperial Stout with great coffee and chocolate flavors, but nothing that steps out on the ledge too much. Solid, especially for the price.

Boulevard Dark Truth Imperial Stout, 92 points. Price: $2.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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