Beer Review 0320: Terrapin Wake ‘n’ Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout

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There are lots of coffee/oatmeal stouts out there, but rarely do you find one that has its own coffee blend.

Athens, Georgia’s Terrapin Brewing Company have one — their Wake ‘n’ Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout is brewed with a custom coffee blend from nearby roaster Jittery Joe’s. Made with coffee beans from Costa Rico, Guatemala, and Zimbabwe, for once you can have a cup of the same exact same coffee flavor you enjoy in your beer.

Terrapin began producing beer in 2002 when John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski joined forces after working at a microbrewery together. The company is based out of a 40,000 square-foot facility, and recently announced they’d start canning some of their beers.

Wake ‘n’ Bake is part of Terrapin’s Monster Beer Tour series, which contains four beers that are released on a one-time, seasonal rotation. Quantities are extremely limited, and Wake ‘n’ Bake is the most difficult to find. Coming in at 8.1% ABV (alcohol by volume), the special coffee blend works with 2-row Pale malt, flaked oats, flaked barley, chocolate malt, black malt, and roasted barley to produce its flavor. The only hop involved is Nugget. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are 50.

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The pour issued forth a very small dark tan head, which faded away nearly instantly. It was more of a thin cover, rather than a head; the color of the beer is pitch black, opaque and the epitome of Imperial Stout. It came out of the bottle muddy like heavyweight motor oil, but the color was too dark for me to tell about particles and sediment. Lacing was fair, leaving behind patches of weepy suds.

The aroma is almost one-note; in fact, as it warmed, it did become one note. Coffee. Lots of coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Sweet, black coffee, tempered with just a small amount of milk chocolate that reminded me of a beer that had been brewed using cocoa nibs. The coffee lends roasted notes, which is quite nice. For being nearly singular in smell, it’s a damn good scent to have.

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Wake ‘n’ Bake takes a couple of sips to really open up, but when it does, look out: big, bold, dark roasted coffee. Nearly espresso. There’s just an edge of dark chocolate bitterness. The finish comes on with moderately acidic coffee and little else. A full-bodied brew, the texture was a let down considering this is brewed with flaked oats and barley — medium mouthfeel, with sort of a foamy, gritty feel around the tongue.

No doubt, Wake ‘n’ Bake is an awesome brew; easily the best beer I’ve ever had that prominently features coffee flavor. Hell, it ought to be, considering there is a special blend of coffee in it. The only disappointment was the texture; I was expecting a thick, creamy stout, but that’s not what I got. This is literally like drinking coffee… doesn’t taste like beer, has a well-hidden ABV, and I swear I could feel myself getting jittery. From now on, this will be what I think of when someone mentions coffee and beer.

Terrapin Wake ‘n’ Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout, 96 points. Price: $3.49 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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