Firehouse Grill & Brewery — One Tun Imperial Stout (OTIS) — 10%

This beast pours black. Black as night. Black as coal. Black, well, as Otis Redding soul kissing a panther. With a mocha brown milkshake head, and nose of cold coffee and licorice, this is no mere beer—it’s a late night meal in a bare lightbulb flat before heading back out to party with Willy Wonka and his crew. Lots of roasted malt right up front rides on pillows of rich chocolate undertones, along with candied fruit, and prunes.

The bitter malts almost overpower the hop profile, but the aromatics actually end up bringing a refreshing astringency to the party, aerating what could have turned into a bottle of chocolate cough syrup.

At a heady 10%, one would expect a little alcohol burn—in keeping with the Imperial style—but One Tun maintains a careful balance. Its slow sipability is a testament to the craftsmanship of the Firehouse brewers; only a luxuriant chocolate/leather jacket taste lingers.

Grade: A-

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