With the obvious exception of Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout and a relatively new offering from Other Half, there aren’t an awful lot of imperial stouts being made here in the New York City area—surprising, given the degree to which the style has for years been sending beer nerds into a tizzy. So it was nice when, about three months ago, Grimm Artisanal Ales released Double Negative, a 10% ABV Imperial Stout that stands as one of the more welcome new additions to the local beer scene.
It’s a fairly traditional take on the style, with none of the Belgian influences that have characterized most of the other beers made by these Brooklyn-based nomad brewers. It pours jet-black with a thick tan head. The aroma is somewhat sweet, but also heavy on coffee. In the mouth, there’s a pronounced creaminess that’s extremely pleasant, almost luxurious. You get hints of dark fruits, chocolate, a whole lot more coffee, and, most notably for me, black licorice. There’s a fairly strong, lingering bitterness, too. I could get crucified for saying this, but it reminds me a lot of Founders’ much loved Imperial Stout, albeit with a much nicer label design.
Double Negative comes in 22oz bottles–great for splitting with a friend, even better for drinking on your own in one sitting–that’ll cost you around $12. There aren’t too many of them still around, but BeerMenus will help point you in the right direction. I’d recommend grabbing two if you can–it’ll be nice to see what happens to this one with a little bit of age on it. And rumor has it they’re currently aging some for us–in red wine barrels, no less, which is going to be awesome.
Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter @MikeConklin.