Beer Review 0494: Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Imperial Stout
Did you know that Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, mastermind behind Mikkeller, has a twin brother? His name is Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, and he also makes beer, under the Evil Twin name.
Like Mikkel, Jeppe is also a gypsy brewer, roving around the world and using breweries to stage his creations, leading to plenty of collaborations. It all started in 1998, when Jeppe started a beer club in Denmark, tired of the same tried and true beer offerings available there. He and his friends would share new beers they found; this eventually led to home brewing. Opening up a bar of their own was an idea, but it never worked out — Mikkel continued to purse brewing, while Jeppe went in a different direction: he opened a bottle shop.
In 2010, Jeppe found himself a busy man — not only was he running a bottle shop, he was also teaching school. Why not have another job? After a chance meeting with a big-time distributor, Jeppe sent him 20 pallets of beer he’d made, and it sold out in less than 24 hours! Today, he and his family reside in New York City, and are leaving a mark in the beer world, making highly acclaimed beers that generally receive lots of praise. Guess it must run in the family.
Imperial Biscotti Break is an Imperial Stout brewed at Westbrook Brewing Company in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The label says it is brewed with coffee beans and hits 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).
The pour served up a small, dark brown, creamy head that didn’t linger long atop a pitch black beer. There’s no seeing through this brew; even the edges are opaque. It’s so dark that I couldn’t possibly begin to tell if it had particles or sediment, and it spilled out of the bottle looking murky and thick. Lacing was very sparse (practically non-existent), only leaving a wisp of suds on the non-sipping side of the glass.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Imperial Biscotti Break is the aroma, which is pungent and complex, with very sweet notes of thick chocolate laced with vanilla and a heavy presence of dark fruits. There’s prune and plum and grapes, which completely overpowers the sweetened coffee that is here, but it plays well with everything else going down. The sweetness aspect is high but it isn’t too much; there’s fair bits of burnt sugar and honey. Nice, inviting, and completely free of the massive 11.5% alcohol.
On the palate, we’ve got an initially very sweet beer with flavors of sugary chocolate and vanilla pudding; allow it to open (and to warm) and it transitions into a mix of coffee and loads of jammy dark fruits; prune, raisin, grapes, even plums. Again, the dark fruits overwhelm the coffee flavors, even though this is brewed with coffee; it’s not a bad thing, by any means, but be aware that although this says “brewed with coffee beans” on the label, that particular flavor set isn’t front and center. The finish presents a complete turn from the sweet start, concluding with a dry smokey coffee and jammy dark fruits. To say this beer is full-bodied is an understatement, it’s full-tilt and thick, with a creamy, slick mouthfeel. The massive alcohol is completely hidden in taste but it can be felt.
This beer from Evil Twin is a very rich offering packed with tons of flavor. It’s big and bold with a heavy lean to dark fruits, but I found myself a little tired after half of the glass. While this makes a big transition from sweet to dry, the flavors don’t change much in complexity as it warms and it’s sort of tedious. Perhaps this beer would be best accompanied by dessert or served in smaller portions.
Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Imperial Stout, 92 points. Price: $15.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.