Part of the spoils that came to me as a result of a victorious Fantasy Football season that I had, was this 7.5% ABV bomber bottle of Tröegs Java Head Stout.
I’ve been on a bit of a coffee beer kick, so I was looking forward to trying this beer from the Tröegs brothers. Little did I know that this beer was not going to be anything like what I had expected! I think its a good thing to be completely surprised by a beer once in awhile!
The Tröegs Java Head Stout poured an almost black color with just some glimmers of red light coming through if coaxed by a bright enough light. The head I found was a beautiful coffee (or java?) color, and this beer’s head was also a bit of a surprise! At first, I poured the beer as usual, and then I put the glass down to rest. I turned around and the head had expanded like insulating foam well up and above the rim of my glass!
It took some time for the head to become contained to the point where I could top off the glass for the picture you see here. Watch the pour on this beer!
An additional surprise came with the aroma! While I was expecting a sweet, malty stout, my nose was confused when it only picked up on floral hops, and not in a secondary way either. Citrusy-smelling hop is the main ingredient here! Its important to let this beer warm a bit as the coffee, and malt aromas began to emerge as time went by, but in this beer malt and coffee seem to play a supporting role.
Considering the smell of this beer, I was a bit more prepared for the flavor to be similar with hops taking the lead, and I was right. Again, I’ve never had a stout quite like this one. Hops rule, although they don’t overpower. Coffee, malt and vanilla flavors began to emerge more as the beer warmed and the flavor overall became even more balanced and enjoyable. Still, this is an unusual beer. If I were blindfolded, I would have guessed this was a Chocolate-flavored American Pale Ale if there is such a thing!
I found the Tröegs Java Head to be a slick feeling beer, and there was just enough carbonation to make it interesting although I think my pour could have thrown thing off a bit. (Watch out for the super-expanding head!) It was a fairly smooth drinker with a little bit of a hop bite and dry finish.
Wrapping up, I’d have to say this was an unusual beer that completely threw me and challenged my preconceptions of what a coffee stout should be. Again, if I were blindfolded, I might think that this Tröegs beer was an odd coffee APA – but it ain’t!
I’m impressed with how they were able to keep the hops in front for both taste and smell, but not have them overpower the whole show. Coffee, vanilla and malt played well blended supporting roles in a beer that I was pleasantly surprised by and would have again.
Nice job Tröegs, and thanks for keeping me on my toes!
What about you? Ever been completely surprised by a beer where it was completely different than what you thought it would be?