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Why are the imported stouts getting a bad rap?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by shagens, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    I really enjoy many of the imported imperial stouts and am shocked to see how low they are rated on BA

    Imported Stouts:
    Bryggeriet Djaevlebryg Aps Gudelos – 92
    Brouwerij De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis – 92
    Olvisholt Brugghus Lava – 91
    Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (Calvodos Edition) – 93
    Mikkeller Black – 85
    8 Wired Brewing IStout – 89
    8 Wired Brewing Batch 31 – 94
    Nogne O Imperial Stout – 92

    I think these are as good or better than the domestic beers below and some quite a bit better. I like all of these beers below but many are not in the same class as the beers above.

    Domestic Stouts:
    Founders Imperial Stout – 97
    Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout – 97
    Oskar Blues Ten Fidy – 97
    Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – 96 (I do really like the anniversary BA version of this a lot however)

    Do you think it is because the domestics are more likely to be sampled on tap? I have drank all these beers listed and almost all from a bottle or can. Please provide any thoughts.
  2. Good topic! And for my personal example, I can use my favorite example of Verdi Imperial Stout from Italy. While this may not be a world class stout to many, I find it a perfect example of simplicity and creativity using hot green peppers.

    Some of the issues may be price point, loyalty to locality and/or focusing solely on American craft in general. Also I think the most simple and sometimes forgotten is that some foreign stouts use ingredients that are different in the palate.

    And it seems like there is foreign stouts being on tap in places that were not once thought of. A good sign of people being open minded to try things that challenge the palate.

    Well, that is all I can think of for now but thank you for asking this question! :D
  3. Stigs

    Stigs Champion (825) Pennsylvania Jun 3, 2005 Beer Trader

    harder to get = harder to hype and trade
  4. Not sure 92's & 94's are a "Bad Rap"
  5. Those "low" scores look pretty high to me.
    FUNKPhD, July2Nov, BB1313 and 11 others like this.
  6. kevanb

    kevanb Champion (795) Illinois Apr 4, 2011 Beer Trader

    The numerical score a beer has (ie. 95) is highly influenced by the overall number of reviews. The American stouts you listed are going to have SIGNIFICANTLY more reviews because this site is dominated by American users.

    For Example:

    8 Wired Batch 31 has a 4.3 average review for a 94 score
    Ten FIDY has a 4.36 average review for a 97 score

    Don't read too far into the numerical score, but focus more on the rAvg as it is more useful.
    beerindex, FUNKPhD, BB1313 and 9 others like this.
  7. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,145) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Beer Trader

    While those ratings are still excellent, it might come down to some backlash against availability and pricing. While not always written out in reviews, often times you can't help but notice some negative undertones related to how much someone paid, how hard something was to acquire when compared to something cheaper or easier to obtain. Sometimes it's hard not to - I've been guilty here and there, too. It's the "Westy" factor.
  8. alexipa

    alexipa Savant (490) Colorado Oct 7, 2011 Beer Trader

    There's LOTS of beers that I love way below a score of 85 on this site (the lowest of the imported stouts you mention). Tastes differ from person to person.
  9. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    Thank you, that certainly provides some clarity.
  10. stupac2

    stupac2 Advocate (565) California Feb 22, 2011

    That list looks about right to me. Many of those imported stouts just aren't that good, to me and it looks like to many people.
  11. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    I think you accidentally put the price next to the Mikkeller beers instead of the rating.
  12. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    Very good point. I pretty much drink anything I can regardless of price and do not consider the price when I judge it. However I do consider price when I decide if I will buy it again. ie..Dark Island Reserve is close to $40 per bottle and I do buy as much of that as I can. Nuclear Penguin is more like $80 and I will never buy that again.
  13. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    The weasel is quite expensive for a very small bottle but very good. The Black is a bit pricey but it is a very big beer. I drank the Black side by side with the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (similar apv) and it was not even close. The Black blew it away imo and the opinion of the others drinking that with me. It is probably 3 or 4 times as expensive however.
  14. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    Not to be confrontational but can you tell me how many of those on my imported list you have tried? Just curious. I know different people have different tastes.
  15. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (340) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    European Stouts are very hoppy compared to what we are use to. And on the whole, American stouts ARE that much better. Trust me. I trade for American stouts all the time just to fill the void that is left empty because the good stouts over here are so FAR and FEW between :(
  16. stupac2

    stupac2 Advocate (565) California Feb 22, 2011

    I believe all of them, but I'm not positive about the 8-wired and I don't really care enough to check.
  17. Handle

    Handle Savant (415) North Carolina Mar 16, 2009

    Don't you have that backwards?
    victory4me and kevanb like this.
  18. ncaudle

    ncaudle Advocate (690) Virginia May 28, 2010 Beer Trader

    I would have said imported stouts tend to have more pronounced yeasty esthers, not more hoppy...
  19. trevorjk

    trevorjk Savant (340) Netherlands Aug 28, 2009

    I find that most stouts that are imported (not the top rated stouts listed above) Tend to be more yeasty. BUT the body and mouth feel is just not what we are use to in stouts. But they are still enjoyable.

    Now when it comes to the big top rated stouts. Europeans love a hop bite in there stouts. Mikkeller has fine beers, but the big stouts have that hop edge that some, and my self, just dont really find appealing.

    But that is the beauty of beer and how 1 beer is top notch and to another person it is just "meh" To each their own :)
  20. Jeffo

    Jeffo Advocate (705) Netherlands Sep 7, 2008

    Someone mentioned this above, but pay more attention to the rAvg, as the BA Score can sometimes be misleading.

    Imperial stouts tend to be quite different over here compared to the American stuff. In the States, imperial stouts tend to be either very sweet or very hoppy, while in Europe, they tend to be really roasted/burnt, even charred, or relatively yeasty. This is a sweeping generalization of course; there are exceptions.

    In the end, different strokes for different folks. Don't forget, there are good ones and shit ones on either side of the pond.

  21. dar482

    dar482 Champion (815) New York Mar 9, 2007 Beer Trader

    Just had Sam Smith's Imperial Stout yesterday. The British make some of my favorite stouts and porters.
    jtdolla911 and Errto like this.
  22. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    Well said and thanks everyone for the input I appreciate it.
    There are some domestic stouts that are very close to the top of my list I just found the ones I referenced above good but I was expecting more based on their ratings. These domestics below I do consider top tier:

    Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee – this is my all-time favorite beer or very close
    Nebraska Brewing Black Betty – this rates an 89 BA, 100 The Bros, and and a 3.97 rAvg. I have limited supply of this so do not drink if often but every time I have it I think it is amazing
    North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin XV – I hoarded as much of this as I could
    Central Waters BA Stout and Peruvian Morning – Both WI beers so I have had in bottles and on tap. I really like both and would drink anytime.

    I think I need to do more research and I am going to do a lot more. The local place I go is starting a De Molen tap takeover tonight so I will start there. I also just bought some Founders Breakfast Stout and I think I will split one with my beer drinking buddy before we go.

  23. Onizilla

    Onizilla Savant (310) New York Apr 25, 2009 Beer Trader

    Cause this is murrika, we like murican beers.
  24. Azzy

    Azzy Savant (300) Texas Jul 16, 2012

    Brouwerij De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis. Best damn stout ever. I love this fucking beer.
    MrRockstar and Hotmetal1 like this.
  25. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    I am right there with you. I am going to have it on tap tonight for the first time so I am pretty excited. If you ever have trouble getting any and need to set up a trade let me know. I have a pretty steady supply.
  26. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,475) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    They taste too foreign?
  27. Jeffo

    Jeffo Advocate (705) Netherlands Sep 7, 2008

    What De Molen do they have on tap tonight? Besides the brewery, I've only seen De Molen on tap once. And I live in fuckin' Holland.

  28. Species8472

    Species8472 Disciple (50) Wisconsin May 12, 2012

    Assuming he is talking about Brasserie V. They have Cease & Desist (Rasputin), Hamer & Sikkel, Hel & Verdoemenis, and Jarr & Dag on tap.
  29. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    I am talking about the V. That is the only place I go.
  30. Andygirl

    Andygirl Savant (280) Michigan Jan 3, 2013

    De Struise's stouts rate well. Rare, yes, great, yes.
    Hotmetal1 likes this.
  31. litheum94

    litheum94 Advocate (675) California Dec 29, 2008

    As far as Mikkeller Black is concerned, 85 is much too high a score for that beer, unless you like nail polish.
    beerindex and yamar68 like this.
  32. lsiberian

    lsiberian Aficionado (215) Texas Jan 11, 2013

    I know at my liquor store there is a lot more variety in the domestics than in the Europeans. Of course my favorites have been the Europeans, but I am a liberal communist traitor.
  33. Jeffo

    Jeffo Advocate (705) Netherlands Sep 7, 2008

    Hmmm... You're getting most of the stuff that was made in decent volume. I guess that's to be expected. The Hamer & Sikkel is alright and the Jaar & Dag is a wonderfully hoppy saison, but the Rasputin is a weak imperial stout. I honestly wish they'd stop brewing it. My favorite is the Hel & Verdoemenis, which is absolutely fantastic! The barrel aged H&V variants are usually phenomenal, though they don't get around much.

    Enjoy! De Molen is our baby here in Holland.

  34. maximep

    maximep Savant (265) New York Oct 23, 2009

    No one gives a fuck about Nils Oscar's Imperial Stout and that.... is okay i guess!
  35. ChrisMon02

    ChrisMon02 Advocate (625) Ohio May 2, 2010

  36. TongoRad

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

    I think there is something to this- you are not only looking at stylistic differences in the way the beers are brewed, but how they tend to be received (which is where the scores figure into it). European styles will have more of their complexity come from a distinctive yeast signature, and by making a robust beer while not overpowering it with the roasted malts. American approaches tend to be full force with the roasted malts, high terminal gravity, hops and other flavors and rely on a more neutral signature.

    Personally, I think the bludgeon is fine every now and then, but those beers tend to wear on me after the first half-pint or so, whereas Courage is just starting to pick up steam. If I had to choose, that one would be my perfect 'big stout'.
  37. shagens

    shagens Savant (285) Wisconsin Feb 11, 2013 Beer Trader

    Drank all 4 tonight and they are all quite good. The Hel is definitely the star of the show.
  38. Pahn

    Pahn Champion (850) New York Dec 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    all the scores talked about are really high.

    re: comparing calvados weasel with stone IRS... i think if you're serious about reviewing (or at least serious enough to give it any thought) you grade them both as different styles. one's a BA RIS, one's a RIS. stone IRS is pretty much perfectly put together. calvados weasel... IMO it delivers a lot more flavor, but i've also had better BA RISs. not all styles are created equal, at least not when it comes to subjective "beer A is better than beer B."

    also, sticker shock hurts mikkeller beers in the USA. you drop $30 on a beer, you want it to be sublime or you're angry.


    all that said, i reiterate that all those beers are good, and in truth they're all highly rated. probably just low sample size for the ratings.

    p.s. didn't read thread. don't plan to either unless someone starts an argument with me or something.
  39. yamar68

    yamar68 Champion (910) Minnesota Apr 1, 2011


    That beer tastes like a tire fire.
  40. JamesShoemaker

    JamesShoemaker Advocate (665) Michigan Sep 21, 2012 Beer Trader

    I hardly ever look at the 100 point scale score. rAVG is a lot more helpful, IMO.