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Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout

Style? Barrel aged coffee stout.

Price/volume? $10/22oz

ABV?12.9%

Appearance? Black, like ink. Mocha colored head that quickly dissapates.

Smell? A wonderful bouquet of vanilla, caramel, oak and whiskey. Incredibly inviting.

Taste? A fair amount of molasses, also some light roastiness and faint vanilla/caramel notes. The coffee is incredibly subtle on my palate, only coming through on the finish. There is a noticeable amount of “heat” coming through, due to the high abv. Additionally, there are some black licorice flavors as well.

Body/mouth feel? Pretty full, with a certain “oily” type character to it.

Overall? To me, it falls in line with a number of barrel aged stouts, with a considerable amount of overlap. As a fan of rye whiskies, especially of the Willett 4-year, I was hoping to pick up on more on the typical rye flavors. I’m not getting any of that here.

That doesn’t make it “bad”, but it doesn’t necessarily live up to my expectations. I can taste the differences between a bourbon and rye whiskey, and I would expect to be able to taste the difference between a bourbon or rye barrel aged beer. I don’t. I’m starting to believe the barrel aged aspect just adds some level of character, regardless of what the barrel previously held.

That being said, I would not discourage anyone from pursuing this beer, if it appeals to you, as taste is subjective.

In closing, I’d encourage you all to follow your palate, and not allow the experience or review of another to dissuade you from sampling a beer you’re interested in.

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