Nick Carr on March 1, 2017 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery Great Divide Brewing Co. Location Denver, CO Style Imperial Stout ABV 9.5% IBU 75 Hops ? Malts ? Shelf Life Years. Many years. Suggested Glass Snifter Serving Temp 50-55°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Grilled Steak and Leeks, Rosemary au gratin, Blue Cheese, Crème Brulee There’s little question Great Divide Brewing Company makes some amazing beer. I honestly haven’t had the chance to try too many of them because they pulled out of several states, including here in New Mexico back in 2011. But lately, they have expanded distribution back into my home state, which has given me the exciting opportunity to delve into a few more of their offerings. One of my favorites this winter and, incidentally, one I chose to help celebrate my birthday this year is their Hibernation Ale. Great Divide Brewing Company was the first microbrewery to find a home in Denver. It was founded by Brian Dunn in 1994 when Denver’s craft beer scene consisted of only a couple brewpubs. Since then, Great Divide has become one of the best known and decorated craft breweries in the United States. Not only is their beer much celebrated, but the company, like many other craft brewers across the country, tries hard to give back, be an integral part of the community, and do what they can to be environmentally responsible. This, undoubtedly, has a little something to do with Brian Dunn’s background in Environmental Policy and Management—before starting Great Divide, Dunn spent 5 years developing farms in third-world countries. That time traveling is also what started his interest in beer. Yeti Imperial Stout is probably Great Divides best known beer. It was first brewed in 2004 and started off with the name Maverick Imperial Stout, but because of a naming conflict, they changed it to Yeti. Yeti is way better and more memorable anyway. It is one of the highest rated beers in the world, scoring a perfect 100 on RateBeer and was named the “Top Beer in Colorado” on RateBeer in 2014. Yeti was also rated #36 on BeerAdvocate’s 2010 “Top 100 Beers On Planet Earth,” and has won two silver medals and a bronze at the Great American Beer Festival. Yeti has even become bigger than itself, evolving into its own brand. There is now, along with the original, a “Clan” of beers in the Yeti family. These include: Oak Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Velvet Yeti (nitro), and Oatmeal Yeti. With all these Yeti’s traipsing around the forest of beer on the shelves it may be hard to know which to capture first. Well, let’s start at the beginning. The original Imperial Stout with the Yeti silhouette. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Yeti Imperial Stout. If you tasted this beer or have a bottle in hand as you read this review, please share your thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Pours like engine oil, in fact I wouldn’t be too surprised if this thing could lubricate your car engine. Atop sits a two-fingered froth of espresso colored head. It leaves an impressive layer of lacing as it falls to a half-a-finger, then sticks. Big malt in the nose. Dark malts showing bitter-sweet chocolate, roast coffee, and low caramel. Some hints of dark fruit. Smells a bit like a coffee roaster. The chocolate as it warms just gets more impressive. Mouthfeel and Taste: Big, full, and robust body. Mouthfeel is smooth and chewy with low astringency. It’s pretty easy drinking for such a hefty ABV. Man! Huge dark malts lay down a complex show of sweet burnt caramel and bittersweet chocolate played against the bitterness of black morning coffee. Tucked in there is some dark fruit; raisin and plum. For how high the IBUs are the bitterness is extremely well-balanced against the play of malt. Low notes of grapefruit and orange. There’s a hint of toffee sweetness toward the end. Alcohol is well hidden before it gives a low burn on the swallow and a warming pleasantness in the chest. Lingering bitterness and bittersweet chocolate into the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS I actually reviewed Yeti Imperial stout outside with low clouds and snow drifting. Any other beer may not have cut it right at that moment, but this thing… the perfect foil to such weather. This is a beer I’ll be visiting again, big time and soon. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such a big stout that’s so well balanced. If you’re not already a lover of stout, this may not be the place to start. On the other hand, its balance is hard to beat, making it the possible impetus of conversion for some. Either way, it is well worth a try, even if it is just to be able to say you danced with the Yeti and survived.