I’ve had a couple of beers from Southern Tier recently – Pumking for Fall and Krampus for Christmas. I’m on a little of a coffee beer streak now and so I get to sample Jah-Va, their Imperial Coffee Stout!
First a bit from the label. I’m still learning about beer ingredients, so when a brewer puts all their ingredients right on the label, I take the time to read it. Its interesting! In the Jah-Va, we see that 2-row pale malt is used along with caramel, chocolate and black malt. Roasted barley, cascade and columbus hops are also in the mix, along with some Jamaican coffee! Sounds good so far, doesn’t it?
This beer pours a really dark color into my class. Just about black, but you get some of that deep red light peeking through if the beer is held up to a bright light. I really can’t tell if its clear or not! We get a decent head from the pour, and its a neat chocolaty-brown color. Its a bit on the foamy side, and it dissipates rather quickly. That’s cool I guess.
Aroma? Wow. OK, the first thing I pick up is chocolate and alcohol, and that’s without even trying. This beer is ar-o-matic, and I can smell it on the table without even trying! Now, this is a good thing! (not like that dude at work who eats too many garlic pills because its supposed to be good for him.)
Having cheated a bit by reading the label, yes, I would say that in addition to the alcohol and chocolate which seem to dominate this beers character, you get a good blend of caramel and malty sweetness as well.
Taste follows the aroma quite well, and for 11% beer it isn’t surprising that the alcohol comes through in the flavor in a big way. Its not ‘boozy’ which I don’t really like in a beer, but its there and provides for some good heat. This is tempered by what I imagine to be a ton of sweet malty stuff (mentioned above) and wait – what about the coffee? Well, if I think about it I think the coffee comes through a bit in the finish and definitely in the aftertaste, but I don’t get a good sense of it while sipping. I think in the Southern Tier Jah-Va, the chocolate and malt win out over the coffee.
Its a bit sticky feeling in the mouth, and I guess that’s to be expected all things considered. Body is certainly on the heavy side, and as I mentioned this beer can pack quite the punch.
So, what do I think? I think that the Southern Tier Jah Va Imperial Coffee Porter is an interesting and complex beer that’s great for a night like this that has the thermometer at close to zero! Its sweet and warm (like me) but still packs a punch. (Yes, like me 😉 ) I’m finding though that after three beers from Southern Tier, I’m not liking the way that the alcohol comes through in the flavor. I said the same thing with Pumking. I think if these beers were 8% ABV they would be incredible.
Still, they are Imperial Ales – it says so right on the front of the bottle – so I’m not blaming them at all. But, considering this is my blog and my opinion, I’m only able to give this beer a 3 star rating, which isn’t bad really and right on par with the other two I tried from Southern Tier.
What do you think of the Southern Tier beers? Ever try the Jah-Va? What did you think of it?