Nick Carr on March 7, 2016 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: La Cumbre Brewing Co. Location: Albuquerque, NM Style: Foreign Extra Stout ABV: 7.5% IBU: 60 Hops: UK Pilgrim Malts: Canadian Superior Pale, Durst Munich II, Crisp Caramel 77L, Crisp Caramel 120L, Simpsons Roast Barley, Simpsons Chocolate malt, Simpsons Brown malt, Flaked Barley Appearance: Opaque & dark with faint ruby highlights; Creamy, tan-colored head with decent retention. Aroma: Robust & complex; Roasted malts, dark chocolate & sweet molasses. Flavor: Coffee & dark roasted malts give way to aggressive and molasses-like chocolate; Smooth mouthfeel; Dry finish; Beautiful. Shelf Life: 9-12 months Suggested Glass: Shaker Pint, Nonic Pint or Mug Serving Temp: 50° – 55°F Availability: Year Round Pairs With: Braised Pork Tenderloin, Rabbit Stew, Blue Cheese, Chocolate Cheesecake It was a land of erosion, ever-changing, ever reforming. The sun dipped close to the far off mountain range. Shadows lengthened, the ground becoming less stark, more interesting in the cast of light and dark. I raise my hand shading my eyes. The wink of last light on metal tells of my destination. The tinned roof of the shack, a rocking chair, and a cooler. I carefully step out from underneath the rock overhang. It had offered shelter from the sun an hour earlier, but the offer has expired and I’ve been standing in the face of the sun for long moments. I walk with care. The land is complicated and each step is an uncertainty of failing light and dangerous characteristics. The ground under my feet feels as if it might open up and swallow me if I fall. I bobble-head between the ground and my destination, afraid of failed footing but equally afraid of losing sight of the coming relief. I can taste it, a land matched libation without equal. Funny how quick light goes in the high desert. Minutes sometimes and it’s gone, but with its going comes heavens quickening light, adding even more dimensions to this scarred land. Some are ghostly, others robust; rocky monuments, only known for the winking lights hidden behind their dark bulks. A half hour passes. When I reach the shack I stop short of putting foot to porch and look back. The blanket of stars above is breathtaking, the moon is just peeking, trickling its white light down across a land once again changed. It is now hard edged, somehow harsh in the soft light. It’s a complex robust land, this Malpais. I duck into the shack, pull open the cooler in darkness, and lift a cool black can out of the deepness within. I adjust the rocker on the small porch. Sit. The characteristic pssst of escaped gas is like a pneumatic piston and I sit still a moment letting a night disturbed, adjust. Then I smile, raise my beer. A fitting toast. I drink of robust darkness and settle in to watch the outer night. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking La Cumbre’s Malpais Stout. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Pours as opaque and dark as an overcast high-desert midnight. In direct sun the edges wink a deep ruby, but the tantalizing depths remains a mystery. A fingers worth of dark tan head forms, small-bubbled and creamy, like any self-respecting stout should be. Retention is decent, though I fear I didn’t leave quite enough headspace in my glass to get its full effect. I have an urge to get a whole pint can into a pint glass; which, leaves little room for head. Aroma is a robust and complex lesson in big roasted malts, dark chocolate, and sweet molasses. Mouthfeel and Taste: Big chewy body with a smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation is low-medium, enough to push but not enough to buck the beer’s smoothness. Taste is a door into the world of dark. Like entering a haunted house, but here it’s baker’s chocolate, Coffee, and dark roasted malts jumping out at an innocent palate. In turns, it’s “molassesy” sweet before aggressive baker’s chocolate then coffee and char runs amuck, overwhelming, but not quite stamping out the sweeter elements. Drying in the finish, with little discernable evidence of where the hop bitter begins and the roast bitter ends, it all combines into one mighty cacophony of goodness. Aftertaste is of char and dark chocolate bitter. It’s like drinking the aftermath of a forest fire. It’s a beautiful thing. Finishing the Impression: This is not a beer for the faint of heart. Deep, dark, jarring, and charring this one is for the stout lover… nay, the stout adorer; those who seek the hidden and dangerous depth of complexities maw; a place better left to those who have some experience in traveling these dark trails of abrasively beautiful aggression. Needless to say, I’m a fan. It’s a beer to test your resolve, to span a stint of reflection under a vault of stars, to lubricate a late night’s conversation, or match an outing in the Malpais.