Dan Martich's picture

Judge’s Review: 94 Rating - Blueberry Pancake Pastry Stout by Gnarly Barley Brewing Co.

February, 2021
Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Blueberry Pancake Pastry Stout by Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. is being evaluated as a Mixed-Style Beer (Category 34B) from the 2015 BJCP Style guidelines. 

Moderate aromas of unsweetened dark chocolate, fresh cacao beans with a very low maple syrup and lactose note are found. A little bit of alcohol develops as it warms.

The beer poured opaque with a dark blueish-brown head that had modest retention. When swirling the glass to rouse the aromatics, the sample seemed viscous.

The first thought that comes to the mind after the initial first sip is chocolate-blueberry pancakes. You’ll find unsweetened dark chocolate flavors from the roasted malts with a subtle but noticeable blueberry note followed by maple syrup sweetness. The sweetness in the maple syrup balances the unsweetened dark chocolate nicely. Notes of hops in the flavor are absent. There is a mildly strong undercurrent of alcohols as we approached the finish. The beer seems balanced enough to support the added blueberry, maple syrup and lactose notes that seem in harmony. One flavor emerges that suggests fluffy pancakes quite possibly from the play of the added lactose and maple syrup combination.

This beer is full-bodied with moderately high carbonation. It has a touch of warming alcohols but without the harsh sensations. The added lactose gives it a creaminess in the mouthfeel, which increases its drinkability. There is a slight tartness on the mouthfeel possibly due to the blueberry puree fermentation.

An interesting approach, no doubt. The flavors -- although disjointed on paper for a beer, really seem to make sense in the flavor. It isn’t every day that you come across a beer that includes domestic ingredients like blueberries, maple syrup and lactose, as well as one that tries to recreate one of this judge’s favorite breakfast dishes: blueberry pancakes! This blueberry pancake pastry stout works rather well and is surprisingly very drinkable, because at the end of the day isn’t that what matters most?