Friday, December 16, 2011
Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout: a Kick in the Teeth
I figured I was in for a mouthful when cracking this one open and boy was I ever right. I'm not sure I've ever had a 12oz bottle that took me longer to drink than this one.
Even after taking it out of the fridge a half hour or so before opening it, the beer was still way too cold to be enjoyable. When over-chilled, you get a touch of roast and a touch of dark fruit, but what you primarily get is the 18% ABV of this beast. Based on my impressions of World Wide Stout cold, I really thought I was going to hate this.
Only when it begins to warm and the surprisingly high carbonation begins to fade does WWS come into its own. That is not to say that the 18% goes away; it's 18% for Pete's sake. When it warms to a proper drinking temperature, it really opens up and becomes much more complex in terms of flavor. The booziness of it is always there with you in the passenger seat, but it's no longer what drives the beer. The dark fruits (raisins, plums) really come out as the temperature rises, along with a hint of smoke, coffee, and caramel. It is a pretty sweet beer, yet is never cloying.
The carbonation at first really detracts from the thickness and weight of the beer, but once it calms down a bit, you get a sense of how thick and mouth-coating this beer really is. It's not milkshake thick (ala: Dark Lord), but it is heavy and filling.
All in all, by the time I was finished with this, I was sad my glass was empty. It took me almost two hours to drink it, but the hours were well worth it. This is the perfect beer to exemplify what serving temperature does to a beer's taste and smell. I'll probably have a hard time justifying the upwards of $10 a 12oz WWS commands, but I would love to try to get my hands on an aged bottle or two to see how it has mellowed with time. Overall, a great effort from DFH which is far, far better than their other big beer I've tried (120 minute). I'd recommend it if you haven't tried it before and also recommend perhaps splitting it with a friend. This was definitely the only thing I drank that night.