Commander Imperial Stout

As we cracked open a 650ml bottle of Dead Frog’s 2015 Commander Imperial Stout last week, we were greeted with dark caramel aroma and taste, followed by a hint of vanilla, leading to a sweet/bitter lingering in the mouth.

Containing 10.5% alcohol, Commander Imperial Stout has a gorgeous dark colour and contains Nugget hops as well as Northwest Pale Ale, Special B, Cara 120, Cara 30, Cara 45, Cara 80, Aromatic, Black, Roast Barley and Chocolate malts.

Last year, Dead Frog’s Commander Imperial Stout won two BC Beer Awards in the Stout category — second for the 2013 release and third for the 2014.

Dead Frog Brewery Imperial Stout label

According to Dead Frog head brewer Steve Black, this version’s a “little lighter-bodied with an emphasis on oak and honey whiskey, backed by hints of molasses and chocolate.”

We poured a glass out of the fridge to sample and then waited about a half hour to allow the beer to warm up, so that we could see how the qualities would change over a short amount of time. Once it warmed up a bit at room temperature, we got bitter chocolate hop notes that lingered in the mouth; this strong beer should be sipped slowly for maximum enjoyment.

Speaking of time, imperial stouts actually improve with careful cellaring in a cool, dark place; similar to wine, time will allow the bold flavours to mellow as well as round out the rough edges. We cellared last year’s Commander Imperial Stout for six months and enjoyed its rounded qualities over a hearty autumn dinner.

This one would go great with dark chocolate, berry pie, aged cheese with cold cuts, or a big salted Bavarian pretzel.

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