Name: Reaction State 2019
Brewer: Bottle Logic Brewing (United States)
Style: Mixed-Style Beer (Base Style: Imperial Stout)
Review Year: 2020
Reaction State 2019 is the second batch of the “Imperial Breakfast Stout” released by Bottle Logic Brewing (California). This massive dark ale, which weighs in at 12% ABV, was aged in a combination of maple syrup and cinnamon whisky barrels, then finished with Ecuadorian cacao nibs, Colombian Patroness coffee beans, a touch of Vietnamese cinnamon, lactose, and Madagascar vanilla beans.
This beer is being evaluated as a Mixed-Style Beer (34B), combining Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (30A), Alternative Sugar Beer (31B), and Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B) with Imperial Stout (20C) as the base style in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
Dark brown, almost black, with a thin brown head that flats out. The nose evoked a breakfast scene: corn flakes cereal, maple syrup, vanilla, roasted nuts, but with hints of alcohol. Full-bodied, medium-low carbonation, with a syrupy mouthfeel. Elevated sweetness akin to maple syrup blends with chocolate, moderate maltiness of cacao, and light impressions of vanilla. Notable smooth alcohol presence; moderately-low bitterness. This beer finishes dry on the palate with lingering qualities of maple syrup, dark chocolate, and whisky.
Without a doubt, Anaheim’s Bottle Logic is at the forefront of the “pastry stout” revolution, releasing constantly these big, adjunct-driven, and often barrel-conditioned dark ales. Reaction State 2019, reviewed in 2020, features a long list of breakfast-inspired adjuncts with a flavor profile that features mainly maple syrup, cacao, vanilla, and whisky. Based on our experience, cinnamon has not been the most expressive of the spices especially when mixed with other ingredients; this holds true once again. Meanwhile, the alcohol warmth is smooth and is still style-appropriate considering the barrel-conditioning process.
However, the syrup-like mouthfeel, prominent adjunct-derived sweetness, and modest malt backbone all suggest that Bottle Logic’s “Imperial Breakfast Stout” is, ultimately, a deviation from the classic Imperial Stouts known to generally embody roasty-burnt malt and deep dark or dried fruit flavors sans any syrupy or under-attenuated quality.
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