Recommend perfectly balanced stouts for me

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MCImes, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. goose island big john ! awesome stout !
  2. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    I have never experienced Storm King as a hop bomb, or anything I would remotely consider an IPA. That said I have never had it fresh from a tap, nor have I had it from the bottle any less than 3-4 months old. Everyone has a unique palate, and an opinion is just opinion. Describe it however you like, to me it has always been nicely balanced. If you want to argue facts then thats a whole different story.
  3. Phillyz

    Phillyz Advocate (520) Pennsylvania May 20, 2010 Beer Trader

    I had some '09 BCBS recently. If you can get your hands on some of it, it's amazing. Better than the '12.. Age definitely works wonders on this beer.
  4. kojevergas

    kojevergas Poobah (1,105) Colorado Aug 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    Bell's Kalamazoo.
  5. Dark Truth Stout by Boulevard Brewing Company is a great, complex and balanced imperial stout. I prefer it over Old Rasputin. Obsidian by Deschutes is also slammin if they distribute by you.
    TheGoldsmith and fredmugs like this.
  6. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    Here are some reviews that disagree with you;

    "Overall: Surprised at how good this beer is. A lot of deep flavors and well balanced. Excellent"

    "O- a complex and well balanced stout. Alcohol is hidden well and has a great hop kick to balance it out. The flavors and aromas get better as they warm, nice roasted character highlights this brew."

    "Summary - A pretty good stout. A little scary to start off - the hops aroma and the kick at the start of the sip had me worried, but it really balances out the more you drink it. I enjoyed not having such a roasted kick as in some other stouts. Enjoyable and powerful, I'd drink it again."

    "T- A delicious chocolaty coffee flavor with roasted malts. Very sweet with some hop balance. Aftertaste is dominated by a roasted/smokey taste with a bit of coffee."

    "A well balanced stout that demands your company to marvel at and soak it in!"

    "The flavor is very dense, slightly on the bitter side, but very well balanced between sweet malt, charred malt, and hops. If you like stouts you have to try this."

    "T: First a big wave of heavily roasted malt with some dark roasted coffee lingering about. Finishes dry with a piney hop flavor, which mellows out a bit as it warms in lieu of a more balanced (but still rather hop forward) play between the chocolate malt and hops."

    "D - Very drinkable. Super smooth and well balanced."

    "O- Very tasty hoppy strong stout. Malt and hops work very well together."

    "O - a very well put together Imperial Stout. I've had about 20 bottles of it and its my fav readily available Imperial Stout"

    "T- Leaning slightly towards the hoppy side, but very well-balanced. Lots of roastiness. Coffee, malts, and a little creamy chocolate towards the end."

    "O- A great balanced fresh Imperial Stout, looking forward to how this one ages"

    ...They all apparently feel Storm King is a balanced beer, so maybe just except the fact that we all have our own opinions and describing how your palate perceives something isn't universal.
  7. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    I agree to "except" all the points you have presented. Thanks for manning up and admitting defeat.
  8. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (860) Michigan May 8, 2006

    If we wanted to I am sure I could copy and paste a bunch of reviews to support my opinion but I don't feel I need to justify my opinion. I will say that I think the word balance is often misused as a descriptor when it comes to many beers and not just with this beer. Just because people use the word does not make it an accurate descriptor.

    If you watch the video on the Victory website they admit that when they were developing the beer they viewed it as a Black IPA of sorts and wanted a very attenuated Imperial Stout without the cloying sweetness. With that explanation, the descriptors the brewery uses does not lend itself to a balanced representation of the style. They were leaning more towards the hop forward side of the style.

    Sure, personal opinion has a lot to do with many responses in this thread but sometimes things are a stretch even with opinion taken into account. Even if you think Storm King is a balanced beer certainly there would be more appropriate, more balanced beers that would have been a more accurate answer to the OPs question.
  9. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    You're extremely childish, I'm sure the OP really appreciates you contribution. Keep up that great beer're doing so well at it.
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  10. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    You're my new favorite BA.
  11. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    You don't need to give examples of people that felt it wasn't balanced because my point was simply that there are quite a number of people in our community that feel it IS a well balanced beer. The point was that it's an opinion and not fact either way.

    If you listen to what they are saying in the video in no way do they describe the beer as being unbalanced.

    "Hit with an impact of malt and hops", "Storm like, turbulent, tumultuous, then it resolves itself in something very common with a little bit of alcoholic warmth", "We wanted to see what it would be like to make a really attenuated powerful imperial stout without the cloying sweetness"

    I'm certainly not claiming that Storm King is the most balanced option, not even that it is one of the better examples. I gave the OP a number of easily attainable well balanced stouts that are distributed in his area, simple as that.
  12. MammaGoose

    MammaGoose Aficionado (230) Wyoming Jan 10, 2013

    I suggested Yeti, but I genuinely suggested it because I think of it as a balanced and surprisingly drinkable stout. I honestly wouldn't even say Yeti is my favorite stout that I've ever tried, although I liked it a lot, but I would say it fits the OP's criteria. It's surprisingly smooth, considering its ABV, and it's not overly roasty dark coffee/chocolate bitter or too malty sweet or anything else. It's a heavy beer, but that doesn't mean it can't be balanced.

    I stick by my suggestion of Yeti as a balanced, surprisingly easy to drink stout.

    Along those lines, I don't think Imperial automatically implies imbalanced. I don't think stouts are, by definition, not balanced. I don't think a beer that might be considered not balanced means a bad beer. I'd go so far as to say that a lot of Imperial IPAs are more balanced than some IPAs. They have a stronger malt backbone to support the very strong hop profile. Some regular IPAs, many that are very good beers, have a much more minimal malt presence while still carrying an excessive hop bitterness. I would say those are not balanced, but they can still be excellent.
    seplo and AxesandAnchors like this.
  13. Roudy1

    Roudy1 Savant (365) Iowa Sep 29, 2012 Beer Trader

    Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
    Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

    Schlafly Irish Style Extra Stout
    Sierra Nevada Stout
  14. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (860) Michigan May 8, 2006

    Yes, they mention that the beer has elements of balance. Any good beer does have to have some sort of balance but that does not make it a balanced beer. If you are brewing a stout with the intention of winding up with something similar to an IPA, you are not aiming for a balanced version of the style. High attenuation is only going to accentuate hop bitterness and flavor. The cloying sweetness would be an element that would balance a huge hop profile, that was something they wanted to avoid.

    They did not come out and say it but they certainly imply they were not aiming for a balanced example of the style.
  15. AxesandAnchors

    AxesandAnchors Savant (300) Oregon Nov 21, 2012

    As said before, I have never experienced a big hop profile in this beer. It has always been well balanced to my particular palate. It is what it is, to each his own.
  16. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) New York Jan 11, 2013

    That's ridiculous, and yet so commonly understood.

    Brooklyn Chocolate Stout is my pick.
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  17. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) New York Jan 11, 2013

    Perfect I would argue and balanced I too would argue
  18. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Well, the OP mentioned Founders IS, though, and is looking for something different...and probably something with more of a yeast signature considering the Sam Smith's reference.

    I'd say that perhaps Foreign Style Stouts are just what the doctor ordered- at 7-8%. Schlafly's is pretty killer, lots of dark fruits that become more prominent the more you drink it. Cisco's Capt. Swain is also really good but probably out of the OPs distribution range, but you never know. And, yes, the 800lb. gorilla in the room also makes a real quality version (Guinness, of course).
    StubFaceJoe likes this.
  19. BarrelAgedBarry

    BarrelAgedBarry Savant (355) Minnesota Feb 27, 2012 Beer Trader

    I love the smokey nose and flavor of Dark Truth Stout but I was really surprised at Brau Brothers Ivan The Great. Seeing as your in MN you should have no problem tracking down some Ivan.
  20. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Champion (800) Colorado Jan 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    I've watched the uninitiated spit yeti out because of it's bitterness. Yeti, especially the Espresso Oaked variant is my favorite stout right now, hands down, but not because it is the most balanced beer out there. The OP blatantly stated "I still love all the over the top stouts like founders IS, KBS, black note, central waters and the like but Im looking for something different at the moment" and "I really like the medium-heavy mouth feel, mild sweetness, not over-the-top hops, not ridiculously dark malt" and yeti fits right in to that description for me. It is a very assertive imperial stout that has so much roasted malt that the head is darker than the body of most beers, the body is sweet and boozy and bitter, and it toes a fine line of perfection, but it doesn't stand out to me as a beer I would reccomend to someone looking for something a little less "over the top".
  21. stoney1031

    stoney1031 Aficionado (225) Texas Dec 2, 2012

    I think ten fidy is just delicious and perfectly balanced. The abv is hidden well its very smooth and easy to drink. Oak aged yeti is another well balanced. I especiallly like the espresso oak aged yeti
    seplo likes this.
  22. RockAZ

    RockAZ Savant (470) Arizona Jan 6, 2009 Beer Trader

    Balanced is a hard definition to get around on a stout, my favorites are the Imperials and they are all listed above, Ten Fidy, Founders, KBS, Yeti, and Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic. Peche Mortel ( is an awesome stout, but for session stouts I like the ones with either cream or coffee mostly, chocolate sometimes but rarely. Narwhal from Sierra Nevada surprisingly, is very tasty to me. Left Hand Milk Stout is one I often recommend to a "noob" craft beer drinker that wonders what all that dark beer tastes like, it has never gone wrong.
  23. Oisin

    Oisin Aficionado (225) California Oct 14, 2005

    I'm surprised at the lack of love for Pretty Things' Babayaga.

    If we're talking about balance, then Babayaga has to be included. The symmetry of flavors is rewardingly experimental while staying true to style.
  24. TheGoldsmith

    TheGoldsmith Zealot (80) Missouri Jan 20, 2013

    Haven't tried any of the Yetis other than espresso oak aged, so perhaps I'm off base, but that one seems a bit heavy and sweet to throw back more than one maybe two. Don't get me wrong, I love it but I wouldn't recommend it in this instance.

    I do agree whole-heartedly with Boulevard's Dark Truth stout which I think is one of the best balanced stouts out there. Also Odell's Cuthroat Porter, though not a stout. There's been a lot of mention of Obsidian as well, which I like, but I had Abyss on tap the other day and found it extremely drinkable as well. Gotta watch those ABVs if you want to throw them back all night though.
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  25. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011 Verified

    milk stouts (left hand nitro/ killigans mother's milk) are always very smooth... but also generally low ABV and kinda mild. Of the non-milkstout varieties: Speedway is a generally available, much stronger flavor, and tasty as hell. Well, at least I think it's well balanced, although not ultra smooth. Same for Big John, although that's likely difficult to find now.
  26. time4lunch

    time4lunch Aficionado (230) New Hampshire Aug 10, 2012 Beer Trader

    I prefer expedition...absolutely stunning.
  27. Fish

    Fish Initiate (0) Oregon Dec 19, 2012

    Had a Alesmith Speedway Stout the other night. Wow!!!

    It was too strong at first, but when I started swallowing it slowly the chocolate and vanilla flavors really came through. I thought that balanced the taste and the heavy mouth was unreal.

    One of my new favorites.
  28. I like new holland's dragon's milk. I think it is a very smooth BA stout.
  29. Stevedore

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

    I would seriously recommend Dark Horse's Plead the 5th- the roasted malt really shines through more so than the hoppier Founders Imperial Stout.

    If you want a similar porter, I would go with Deschutes Black Butte, has a nice creamy mouthfeel to go along with the complex porter flavour.
  30. Treyliff

    Treyliff Poobah (1,165) West Virginia Aug 10, 2010 Beer Trader

    I just had my first a Obsidian Stout and was blown away! So, that's my vote.
  31. I was pleasantly surprised with Magic Hat's heart of darkness, very smooth English stout. Could drink a whole six pack of this with ease.


    As for an imperial, I recommend Southern Tier's Oat, it's pretty damn smooth and very well balanced. Enjoy OP.

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  32. taxman

    taxman Savant (285) Illinois Feb 22, 2012

    FIS aged at least one year.
  33. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Advocate (530) Colorado Nov 24, 2011

    Thank you for considering OP's question and answering appropriately. OP Check out foreign style stouts.
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  34. argock

    argock Advocate (595) Virginia Dec 30, 2006 Verified

    Lion Stout is one I have not seen mentioned -- a really good foreign export type of stout and a decent price.
    Sierra Nevada Stout is a good everyday stout.
    A month ago I would have said Rogue Shakespeare stout, but they changed something about the hop aggressiveness in that beer when I tried it last month -- either a different crop or hopping rate or timing or something. Much more bitter than I remembered.
    Bell's Kalamazoo Stout and Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout are two more good suggestions for non-imperial stouts. Bell's Double Cream is a great stout but not around all year long.

    On the imperial side, it is hard to go wrong with Yeti (harder to find though at least here in VA), Founders IS, and Brooklyn BCS is also a good choice for a balanced option.
  35. mportnoy

    mportnoy Savant (470) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2012 Beer Trader

  36. I would agree with everyone saying Old Raspy, Yeti (just "simple" Yeti), and Founders Imperial Stout. This Black Rat Imperial Stout I'm having right now falls into that category too I would say, though that's obviously not exactly something available widely.
  37. lsummers

    lsummers Advocate (535) California Jun 21, 2010

    The flying Dog Pearl Necklace Stout is pretty smooth and tasty. Other than that Victory's Baltic Thunder.

    I'm loving SN Narwal, but not everyone is liking it.
  38. This is like a really big honey dew list and I like it much better than the one my wife gives me....
  39. hopsputin

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

    old raspy
    ten fidy
  40. MCImes

    MCImes Savant (395) Connecticut Dec 31, 2010 Verified

    So Last night, at the recommendation of the good folks at four firkins, i had Brooklyn Black Chocolate and Plead the Fifth. Both of those NAILED exactly what I was talking about. Brooklyn BCS may be my new favorite beer.So smooth, so good.

    I disagree that I am looking for a non-imperial stout. There are plenty if imperial stouts that have what im looking for. There has just been a trend lately towards the "Black IPA" style stouts. You can flame me for this, but black ipas fucking blow. Ive tried at least 10 and never buy them a second time.

    I agree with the Yeti series (oaked espresso being the best) and founders Breakfast stout too.

    I havent had Kalamazoo stout and I havent had SN stout in a long time. Ill try those. old rasputin too. thats ove ive been meaning to buy by get side tracked.

    I completely disagree with storm king. That was one of the beers that inspired my OP. Its totally a black ipa. Dark truth also gets a meh from me. good, but not great. Founders IS is great after a year or 2, but the fresh ones ive drank lately leave me wanting it slightly less bitter. In the vertical I did from 09-12 i found that anything older than a year goes into my Love category. new its still good, just not as good when its a year or 3 old.