This beer is almost pitch black, which is just black I guess, with no head off the first pour. Just a little swirl when looking straight down in, like a tiny barrel aged hurricane.
Author's note: The second pour, which happened approximately 45 minutes after the first, produced at least a half inch of what looked liked peanut butter icing. It may have been beer head. It may have been actual cake icing. I was full on hallucinating so it was difficult to be sure of anything. It may have been quantum foam, in which case I missed out what would have been my best chance at time travel.
I smell the barrel, that sweaty wood burnt glaze of the bourbon. On second sniff, roasted malts start it out before the bourbon hits, and here it hits subtly, but by the end my nostrils are singed.
My first thought on taste is that it's sweet, in a dark chocolate way. The heat in the aroma is not really present. Last night, I was drinking a Bell's Expedition Stout from 2013 in hopes of generating envy on Untappd, and I'm not sure if this Astronaut Status is packing much more heat that that, and really maybe not that much going for it in the bourbon barrel aged department, which when one considers that this is bourbon barrel aged and the other is not, well, you get it.
However, when one considers that this beer reminds me of some of the characteristics of a 2013 Expedition Stout (Dare I say that few things age as well as Expedition Stout -- something I do not have the life experience to make claims about. And yet, there it is, I said it anyway.), it follows that this beer must be pretty darn good. Take away a chunk of the roasty bitterness and smooth chocolate from the Expedition and replace it with fruity sweet caramel vanilla and sour mash notes and that is this beer. So maybe that is an entirely different beer. Frequent sips bring forward the sharp sweet of dark chocolate, and even hints of milk chocolate, but put a little space between tastes, and yes, the bourbon comes out and taps you on the tongue each time.
If we talk about the things I felt while drinking this beer, not emotionally but actually, I'd tell you it stings the lips at first. Then a moment where it just slides and then a question -- Is this too syrupy -- and at first I felt yes, but now I'm feeling no. It's possible I will switch back and forth as we flip through the calendar and as the beer meets the room and we all become one temperature.
But back to taking some time for yourself between tastes, if you take that path, you will be rewarded with a nice slow burn and then warm glow on the back of your tongue -- and it's that moment, while you bask in the dim heat of warm coals, that you realize this beer has more than earned its bourbon barrel aged stripes. Because while the taste reminded me of fonder times with another, this feel, this feeling, like sun on the face of a child born and raised in abandoned subway tunnels, is not a feeling I remember having before. And when I say before, I'm referencing a life in which, at this moment, I can only remember last night.
Overall, I'd say at first I wasn't, but now I am enjoying this beer immensely. A few things I should mention: I am watching The Road while I write this and things are starting to get a little dark in that film. Also, I've completed one glass of this and it may be bringing out my good nature, i.e. affecting me.
Beyond that, I've recently started up on a fat cutting eating regimen, paired with a steady dose of physical activity, and in the past when I've started such a routine, I experience what one might refer to as an acid flashback. And that may be happening right now.
So it's 15 years ago and generously I can say I never had a bad trip. Maybe there was one not so good one but that was mainly due to excessive palm sweating and a tendency to stare up at the corner where the walls hit the ceiling and frankly not much happens up in that part of a room.
It is with those factors in mind, that I recommend you go back and re-read this beer review, maybe the longest one ever, and consider that maybe none of this is real. And that I am excited to have another.
JR Shirt hosts the Drinking With Shirt podcast with his brother T-Bone. Follow him on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt.