Thursday, February 8, 2018

T.O.R.I.S. the Tyrant

It used to be that there was a cap on the ABV of beers in Ohio.  12% and not a tenth or hundreth of a percent more.  That changed in 2016, when Governor Kasich signed House Bill 37, which lifted the cap.   (By the way, that is the only good thing Governor Kasich has done.)  

As one brewer noted, "freedom from alochol limitaiton in Ohio has finally been granted in 2016," adding that this new found liberty "has allowed us to brew T.O.R.I.S."  The brewery is Hopping Frog,   The brewery is located in Akron, Ohio and has developed a niche for high powered beers.  Before 2016, those beers ranged in the 8% to 9%  range.  But, the lifting of the cap has allowed the ABV of at least one Hopping Frog beer to rise.  That beer, as noted above, is the T.O.R.I.S. or Triple Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout.  Indeed, the ABV rose so high, that it reached 13.8%.  A level exceeded only by a few beers that I have tried, such as Mikeller's Black (19%) and the Bruery's Geuze (16%).

There is something to be said about a triple oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout.  Google the phrase and the T.O.R.I.S. is basically the only result.  A one of a kind.  And it shows when sipped, almost perfectly.   

The T.O.R.I.S. pours a thick, dark, viscous liquid.  It is not just engine oil.  It is like dark crude, almost tar.  That crude and tar like appearance actually carries through to the body of the beer.  This is the first beer that I have had that actually clings to the edges of the glass when sipped (it becomes much more apparent toward the end).  

The aromatic and taste elements of this beer ironically trend toward the sweet.  The aromas feature raisins, candied prunes, and perhaps chocolates that might come in a box around the holidays. The taste is full of sweet, boozy cherries, which one would expect with an ABV of 13.8%, along with notes of oatmeal, cocoa and chocolate.  The finish has a heavy, roasty bitterness that mimics the feel of wine tannins on the tongue.  

This beer is not for the faint of heart or those who like to say "dilly, dilly."  It is for a certain segment of craft beer lovers.  Those who love high powered beers that are not only unique, but make a statement.  Kind of like hitting the bullseye on an archery target with, not a bow and arrow, but an anti-tank weapon.  If you see this beer on a store shelf, buy it.  Store it (like I did).  And enjoy it (like I did).  


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