Jessica Sullivan's picture

79 Raiting: Space Ghost by Central Waters Brewing Co.

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
5 / 6
28 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
15 / 20

I am judging this beer as a vegetable beer (30A), with the base style being Imperial Stout (20C).

The aroma began with complex malt-derived scents: licorice, coffee, chocolate, and anise. Under the malt complexity was a low level of black pepper and what I initially believed to be cayenne. However, a second sniff revealed something quite vegetal -- like soap, cilantro, and green peppers. This beer certainly hits the "stout" and "peppers" notes in the aroma, although I am not sure that the two play nicely together.

The appearance was standard for an imperial stout -- almost jet black, with a dark tan / light brown head with moderate retention. The mouthfeel was also standard for this type of beer -- the beer was full bodied, with moderate carbonation that gave a mouth-filling sensation. As would be expected for a beer with hot peppers in it, there was substantial burning that remained in my mouth and throat for at least 10 minutes (I'm a spicy-food lover, so this wasn't a problem for me, but it was quite a physical sensation!)

The flavor contained many of the notes I was hoping to detect -- coffee and chocolate were present in abundance. However, the dominant flavor and sensation were from the heat. Spiciness coated my tongue, and grabbed my attention away from the very interesting base beer and towards the less interesting 'wow, this is spicy' experience. This, paired, with a low cardboard flavor (I couldn't tell whether this was from oxidation or a result of the semi-paperish flavor that some pepper beers have) made it difficult to concentrate on what promised (from the aroma) to be a stellar imperial stout. 

In short, I would run out to get an imperial stout from these guys, but unless the ghost pepper presence were toned back substantially, I would prefer this stout without the vegetable addition.