Much like its mythical namesake, Yeti Imperial Stout, is beastly and complex. Great Divide Brewing Company recently started distributing their beer in Iowa, and this one is liquid dessert—perfect for sipping with friends after a holiday dinner.
Pour into a snifter. The color is opaque black; when held to a reading lamp, light is indiscernible. A finger of dense, lightly buttery, chocolate mousse-colored head will dissipate slowly and evenly, leaving spots of bubbles and skim, as well as a trail of lacing that sticks to the glass much like the stain of floodwater on a wall.
The aroma is deep, dark and delicious. Much like an uncut chocolate cake waiting to be served for dessert, Yeti is inviting. Scents of roasted malt, dark chocolate, molasses and black raspberry create a pleasing blend to inhale. There are also scents of candy caramel, dark cherry, raisin, plum, black licorice, toffee and brown sugar. Each whiff is tinged with the aroma of dark, syrupy booze.
The mouthfeel is smooth, though not necessarily velvety or creamy. The roasted malt is much more prominent than it is in the aroma, lending a predominant espresso-like flavor. An accompanying bitterness, provided by the 75 IBUs, works the taste buds. As the beer continues to warm, the bitterness remains and flavors of toasted caramel, molasses, dark chocolate, dark fruit and black licorice complement the roasted malt. The alcohol in the beer is noticeable, but not overpowering; reminiscent of alcohol-soaked cherries or raisins, it provides an ever-present warming sensation.
Serving temperature: 55ºF
Alcohol content: 9.5 percent ABV
Food pairings: Great Divide is one of the few friendly and helpful breweries that prints pairing suggestions directly on the bottle label. (Three cheers for Great Divide!) The pairings recommended for Yeti Imperial Stout are grilled steak and leeks, rosemary potatoes au gratin, Roquefort blue cheese and creme brulée.
Where to buy: Unlike the elusive Yeti of lore, one can find Yeti Imperial Stout at most major retailers.
Price: $13–14 per four-pack of bottles.