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Monday, July 15, 2013

Pipeworks Brewing's Orange Truffle Abduction

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 10.50%
  • Ease to locate: As with all Pipeworks, Chicago is my kind of town.  Some suburb locations as well.  Check beer menus for locations.
  • Color: Dark, black brown thick liquid.  No orange tint.
  • Head: One & a half  finger tan head that fades to a patchy film.  Spotty lacing that rims the glass
  • Aroma: Bitter, roasted chocolate.  More of an impression of orange than the actual scent.  
  • Mouthfeel: Medium, but much lighter than an average Imperial Stout.  Works for the summer season.
  • Finish: Moderate with orange characteristics emerging more as the beer warmed.
  • Food friendly?: Not really.  An Imperial Stout is still an Imperial Stout.  Enjoy this one on it's own. Or possibly with a citrus  accented desert.  Try it with a mild, buttery cheese such as brie.

I think that we all realize that I am a bit of what is commonly known as a geek.  If you've read previous posts from this blog (and if you haven't, Welcome.   Nice to meet you.  Now go read the some past posts to catch up.   We'll wait.)  you've come to this conclusion all by your own smartypants little self.  It should come as no surprise to you that I love well done SciFi shows (and, OK, I'll admit that I have loved some not so well made  ones too.)  Give me a Fringe or X Files marathon and I'm a happy camper.  I once spent an entire weekend watching the complete set of the miniseries V, much to the annoyance of my then roommates.  I have binged viewed all three Star Wars movies secession in a theater (and there are only three.  I actually taught my friends kids to tell people that if Han Solo isn't in the movie, it's not really Star Wars.  I very much feel that my work as an honary aunt is done.)  So when Pipeworks recently released a citrus version of their Abduction imperial stout, the beer geek and the SciFi geek in me merged into one huge Godzilla-like geek that needed this beer.

                                                                                 It's like a time capsule of late nineties/early 2000s pop culture.  I mean, who didn't love David Duchovny?

Pipeworks has put out quite a few versions of this popular Imperial Stout Abduction series.  This batch (#146) of Orange Truffle is the first that I've been able to try of the series.  Before OTA (as those too lazy to type the full name in the know refer to it as) they released Coffee Abduction, Raspberry Truffle Abduction, and just just your regular old run of the mill Abduction brew.    According to various reviews, the original Abduction apparently had elements of roasted coco beans, coffee, licorice and a bit of citrus hops.  Each subsequent variation built on this basic formula with some obvious tweaks (three guesses what was added to the Raspberry Truffle and the first two don't count.  Unless you are a reality show contestant.  Then take your time.  We'll wait.)

I want to believe.  That there is orange in there.

My OTA poured a dark, black brown liquid.  A tan, one and a half finger head formed and settled to a shallow, patchy layer for a portion of the drink.  There was minimal lacing that left a slight ring around the glass.  In my (still somewhat limited) experience with Pipeworks, they aren't really known for producing big lacing in their beers, so I wasn't particularly expecting there to be much of a show anyway.  I could smell the bitter, chocolatey aroma of roasted caco beans.  I was searching for a whiff of the promised orange note, but couldn't distinctly find any indication of it on the nose.  There was a brightness to the chocolate scent, which I attributed to the presence of subtle orange notes.  In my opinion, I was left with more of an impression of the orange citrus than the actual scent of it on the nose.  The taste was like the nose, very heavy on the bitter, roasted chocolate flavor, with a bit of sweet milk lactose elements (but not enough to make me feel that it was a milk stout).  The much anticipated orange flavor finally kicked in towards the tail of the swallow, and still, it was very slight.  I suppose that I was hoping for a sort of Jaffa Cake influenced beer and that simple didn't prove to be the case.  The orange note was subtle, although it did grow a little bit as the drink warmed.  The mouthfeel was medium, a bit lighter than one might expect from an imperial stout.  But on the other hand, this was a summer imperial stout and I felt that the lighter mouthfeel helped it drink well during the warm months.   The finish was medium and possibly the most unboozy finish for an imperial stout hat I've tried in a while now.

Pipeworks OTA was possibly not exactly what I was expecting when I sat down and poured a pint.  But once I realized that the orange element was passive, I was able to enjoy this beer for what I'm assuming that the brewers meant it to be: a lighter imperial stout with a hint of citrus to brighten it up for summer.  Imperial stouts are notoriously difficult to pair with most meals.  They often work better when sipped on their own, so as not to overpower the plate in front of you.  But since this particular imperial stout has a hit of citrus in its make up, I'd try pairing it with a citrus influenced dessert dish.  I think it would go excellent with this Fresh Strawberry Lemon Shortcake.  Of course, since Pipeworks only bottles their brews in bombers, OTA would be a perfect accompaniment to a weekend marathon viewing of BGS, another awesome acronymed TV show.  Good hunting.