Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Concerns about Stouts from a very young beer geek

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by DieHippieDie, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Ok, so I've been in the (legal) craft beer loving business for almost 2 years now (I'll be 23 this year). My favorite style of beer is stouts hands down. Even though I am still pretty new to the craft beer community, I have tried MANY stouts (RIS's, Chocolate Stouts, Coffee/Espresso stouts, even hoppy and fruity stouts.) Then I see beers like Dark Lord and Rare DOS on BA that are supposedly the greatest stouts in the history of mankind that I have never tried. I sometimes feel that when I drink stouts that I really enjoy, they fail in comparison to these "worthy only of Zeus" stouts that I hear so much about. Now, I understand that taste varies from person to person but it is very hard for me to believe that very famous, rare stouts like Dark Lord are THAT much better than Expedition, Founder's RIS, Ten Fidy, etc. and other stouts that are a lot more readily available, especially for the price (I think I heard Dark Lord was $50 for a bomber!) My concern is, when I am sitting at my house or a beer store on a couch watching a football or hockey game and I am sipping on a Founder's RIS at 45-50 degress, should I feel that I am missing out on these famous stouts? Is paying $50 for DL REALLY worth me worrying?! Thanks fellow beer lovers!
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  2. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Advocate (660) California Jan 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    In this example, your instincts are correct.
  3. WankelEngine

    WankelEngine Savant (345) Illinois Mar 28, 2011

    I had a bottle of the 2012 Dark Lord at a tasting a month or two back. It was awful. Tasted like a licorice stick dipped in brown sugar in the worst possible way. (Also, DL is 15 dollars a bomber. The barrel aged variants are 50 a bomber, and, from what I hear, worth it.) Just keep drinking what you enjoy and if you have the opportunity to try some of the rarer beers without breaking the bank, go for it.
    Scalzo, Smurf2055 and jmccraney like this.
  4. Ri0

    Ri0 Poobah (1,155) Wisconsin Jul 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    Most of the flavor comes from the hype!
  5. Dope

    Dope Advocate (670) Massachusetts Oct 5, 2010 Verified

    First off, it's fun to try new things and it can be an enjoyable experience to seek out the rarer brews. Having said that, are you missing out? Not really, no. Some of the rarer stouts are truly excellent but most I was disappointed by (especially Dark Lord, which was a drainpour). From my own experience, only a stark few really stood out (off the top off my head, KtG, CBS and Event Horizon). The rest were only as good as or worse than the high end staples such as Expedition, Founders IS, Stone IRS, Old Raspy, Yeti, BCBS, KBS etc..

    If I'm honest, the hype around certain beers can actually make them disappointing. You're expecting something mind blowing but then they end up being barely as good as something like a $2 bottle of FIS and it's just sort of a letdown.

    Long story short, it can be a fun pursuit but don't kill yourself over obtaining the harder to find beers out there. ESPECIALLY if you don't have a lot of disposable income. Rare beer is a rich man's game and IMO is ultimately pointless.

    AlexFields, Shagator, Falcone and 8 others like this.
  6. gcamparone

    gcamparone Advocate (685) Rhode Island Dec 6, 2011 Beer Trader

    Keep drinking FIS, best stout for the money and doesn't need a "hype" surrounding it or a cool label to taste good.
    digita7693 and BottleCaps80 like this.
  7. I talked to the Dark Lord on Dark Lord Day 2011 after sacrificing many things for a ticket to see if I could talk to him. He said "I wear your grand dads clothes, I look incredible". And that, good sir, is why it's 50$ a bottle.
  8. Well, I am still new as well being 3 years in. I have learned that while most may not share the love of my Italian craft advocacy and admitting that I have been a little pushy in doing so. I will say this. I enjoy my Verdi Imperial stout from Italy and I know hype or no hype that there is probably even better crafted beers then the Verdi. It all comes down to what really grabs you. While I am not opposed to try anything world class, I feel I rather stumble, hehe no pun intented, on great beer then search it. In the same topic and vain, we do see how those proud supporters of their regional specialties can influence others in wanting to try it.

    So I can only offer this personal advice: keep an open mind in trying things because being disappointed can be really crappy. I would love to try a Founder's RIS myself as I love stouts the most as well! And if you do seea Birrificio del Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout give it a whirl!
    Vonstein15 likes this.
  9. WankelEngine

    WankelEngine Savant (345) Illinois Mar 28, 2011

    I don't know, I thought it had a pretty cool label...
  10. vacax

    vacax Advocate (675) California Jun 3, 2008 Beer Trader

    Try them, find out for yourself. Also you have to get out of the mindset that dollar value or rarity is directly related to the quality of a beer. While some of the best beers are both rare and expensive, many very similar beers are common and relatively cheap. Another misconception that newer beer geeks have is that people think Dark Lord is a paragon of the style... check the recent thread about Dark Lord vs. Darkness where it got slaughtered 90%-10%. Some of the best Russian Imperial Stouts are straight off the shelf and $4-10... Ten Fidy, Stone IRS, Hoppin Frog BORIS are some of my personal favorites.
    kemoarps and Giovannilucano like this.
  11. I actually had Verdi before. Was a slightly different taste and my first (and only, I think) beer from Italy.
    Giovannilucano likes this.
  12. Exactly.... for example I just had Hopslam. It is great but it is the holy grail of double IPAs.
  13. FishPondManager

    FishPondManager Advocate (530) Colorado Feb 28, 2012 Beer Trader

    I think you should turn up the heat in your house! You're gonna catch a cold!

    Sarcasm aside, no don't feel like you're missing out. FIS and Ten Fidy are the shiz nittlebam snip snap sack.

    Also, you mixed some barrel aged stouts in there with non barrel aged guys. Most of the hype around here surrounds the myriad barrel aged brews. Some are worth it, others not so much. Sounds like you should be in an area that will get KBS. Grab one of those and see if you want to go further down the rabbit hole.
    jtdolla911, fullmetal1381 and Jpepe08 like this.
  14. That is very awesome! It was not planned that Verdi was both my first craft beer AND Italian craft beer! And I found it a pub I would never had expected. :D
  15. Vonstein15

    Vonstein15 Savant (330) Ohio Jan 15, 2010

    Forget the hype and just continue trying everything you want to,even making mistakes will lead to what you in right direction.Know what you want and don't give a sh*t about what other people say.Drink to enjoy not to please others.Cheers and welcome to the club.
    kemoarps and FishPondManager like this.
  16. draheim

    draheim Poobah (1,120) Washington Sep 18, 2010 Beer Trader

    All of this is correct. There are a few highly rated stouts I'll buy every year—in my area, Parabola is hard to beat for both quality and relative availability—but if I could get something like Founder's Imperial Stout or Expedition locally I'd be almost satisfied for my imperial stout needs. Speedway Stout and Yeti (and its variants) are also excellent imperial stouts that compete on an almost equal footing with some of the big-name barrel-aged stouts.

    And AFAIK, Dark Lord is the one beer that enjoys the greatest gap between supposed and actual greatness. I have no clue how this beer maintains its status near the top of the heap.
  17. krl2112

    krl2112 Advocate (680) Illinois Nov 10, 2012 Beer Trader

    So I have been into wine for 15 years before I got into craft brews. Wine people can be very snob y although many people on BA seem to be keeping this alive as well. However, one of the most knowledgable wine people I know have me some great advice. He said that the best wine is the wine you like. What he meant is that you should not be concerned about what others think of your tastes. Whatever makes you happy is what makes you happy. Now that's not to say you should not broaden your experiences. I would suggest you try other brews for the experiences. Vintages of DL can vey quite a bit. I personally love '12 DL.
    kemoarps and Giovannilucano like this.
  18. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Beer Trader

    I've been drinking craft beer since there has been craft beer. Imo there is no beer in any style that is head and shoulders better than other top beers of the same style.
    kemoarps likes this.
  19. darky

    darky Savant (270) South Dakota Apr 16, 2010

    I find that once you've got your hands on a few relatively inexpensive world-class selections (ie Samuel Smith Imperial Stout) you'll realize there's a diminishing rate of return as you go up in price from there. Don't spend another second worrying about it.

    Put it this way; I love quads, and I've been fortunate enough to have had St Bernardus Abt 12 and Pannepot, which rate near perfect here on BA. That tells me I needn't worry about acquiring a Westy 12.
    BetterBeerPlz and dennis3951 like this.
  20. nrs207

    nrs207 Advocate (715) Pennsylvania Sep 8, 2011 Beer Trader

    Hopslam is only above average. Heady Topper is cheaper per ounce and far superior.
    MisterGrizz likes this.
  21. Thanks for your input guys! Cheers!!
  22. hopsputin

    hopsputin Advocate (710) New Jersey Apr 1, 2012 Verified

    Personally, the only higher-priced stout worth getting every year (not sure where you're located) is Abyss. I think I bought mine this year for like $18/bottle.

    *Edit* also, you should add Founders Breakfast Stout to your lineup as well. If you dig the coffee stouts, this is one of the best.
    VonZipper likes this.
  23. Thanks for your input guys! Cheers!!
    Had four at the bar on Friday lol. Tasted like sex.
    hopsputin likes this.
  24. this. also if you havent had it try Peruvian morning from central waters...
    bilboTbaggins and HighWine like this.
  25. jbeezification

    jbeezification Savant (450) Texas Jun 6, 2012

    Personal opinions always vary, and as a stout lover I would be content with only ever drinking Marshal Zhukov, Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, BCBS and Parabola for the rest of my life. Those pretty much cover all bases of what I want in a stout.
    HighWine likes this.
  26. willbm3

    willbm3 Savant (390) Massachusetts Feb 19, 2010

    While the more hyped beers are often "better" than so called shelf beers, they often aren't THAT much better, especially when there is a large price difference. For me, BCBS and Heady deserved the hype and were WELL worth the price and effort I put in to get them. If you can buy you're favorite stouts regularly at goo prices I would keep doing it. You can always splurge on a bottle of other stuff from time to time
  27. jar72404

    jar72404 Aficionado (180) Florida May 31, 2009

    Yes, you should worry a lot about that, and you shouldn't even THINK about enjoying a really good stout unless it is the BEST stout.

    (Can't tell if OP is serious.)
    frankthetank86 likes this.
  28. have you had FBS or BCBS and its variants. if you have not... well then by all means drop everything and start running in circles frantically. panic!! hah don't worry man good things will come your way
  29. Blanco

    Blanco Advocate (545) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008 Beer Trader

    I'm not Dark Lord has the reputation of being as must try as you might think. Some of the variants are highly rated though.

    As far as the rare ones being worth it, the short answer is: some are and some aren't.
  30. 57md

    57md Advocate (680) Pennsylvania Aug 22, 2011 Beer Trader

    Think of it this way: if you had a bottle of Dark Lord you probably would not be drinking it on the couch while watching sports. On the rare occasion that I get an expensive and hard-to-find beer, I tend to open it for a special occasion or with friends at a tasting. In this way, those beers are much like expensive wines - not for everyay consumption.

    I routinely buy a selection of more reasonably priced "go-to" beers of various styles which I drink in larger quantities and in more casual settings.

    Generally, beers are rated here on BA without the consideration of price. I think that you also should look at beer with a quality-to-price formula. There are quality beers that fit many price points; drinking the best quality for a price you can afford is a big part of enjoying beer.

    You'll figure it out. You're way ahead of me. When I was 23, I was just getting into craft beers and thought Guinness was the best beer ever.
  31. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Savant (485) Illinois May 10, 2012

    Dark lord is downright awful.

    Darkness, Black Note, and Parabola are all bonkers awesome... but so are the stouts that you mentioned.
    luwak likes this.
  32. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Jan 16, 2012 Beer Trader

  33. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Advocate (705) Pennsylvania Jan 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    Try them all and find out what you like best. They are all at least ok. Worst case is that you choke down a beer you don't like.
  34. HokiesandBeer

    HokiesandBeer Savant (390) Pennsylvania Jan 10, 2013 Beer Trader

    If a stout tastes similar to sex to you then you're doing it wrong.
  35. VncentLIFE

    VncentLIFE Champion (805) North Carolina Feb 16, 2011 Verified

    I too love stouts, and have had a few of the big boys in the style, but I always go back to Siberian Night. I like it more than BA Siberian Night, and almost as much as BA Blackout. I didnt think Dark Lord was worth it--too sweet for my tastes--and Expedition takes at least a year but more like 3 to mellow into a good stout. I dont like Sexual Chocolate at all either, so I must be crazy.

    You just have to know when youre drinking a walez bro and when youre not. I never compare BA walez to things like Siberian Night, Blackout, or BORIS.
    luwak likes this.
  36. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (870) Michigan May 8, 2006

    These beers are all better than 95% of the limited release stouts out there.

    Spend the money, trade or barter at some point, it is worth seeking out some of these highly acclaimed, limited beers if only for the experience. You may hate them, you may love them but you will certainly cement the fact that you can still get world class beers every day with out the fuss.
  37. Myst

    Myst Savant (425) Maryland Dec 13, 2011 Beer Trader

    BCBS + variants, worth it all.
    Ristaccia likes this.
  38. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poobah (1,065) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    Try what you can try via purchases, trades, etc. and find which beers you like; but keep drinking beer regardless.

    The beers you mentioned are fantastic and aren't that difficult to get. If you want to pleasure your palate on a regular basis with a beer, isn't it a big bonus if you can get that beer relatively easily? Don't keep looking ahead to the whales when you've got great stuff on the shelf.

    One suggestion, be sure you get your palate some BCBS to try, ASAP. Your beer advocacy won't be the same after that.
  39. Sneers

    Sneers Savant (455) Pennsylvania Dec 27, 2009

    Absolutely not.
  40. Do yourself a favor, keep yourself a stock of Old Rasputin in your fridge and your cellar. You don't really need any RIS beyond this and Old Rasputin for the money is the best RIS out there