Barrel-aged Black Pit of Hatred (Coconut) | Burnt City
Check out our other reviews here! Big thanks to Burnt City for the can of Black Pit of Hatred!
Last week I kicked off 2021 on a challenging note, opting for a 100% Mosaic hazy IPA despite my Mosaic blindness. I think I’ll keep challenging myself with a… barrel-aged stout with an adjunct? But I just had a month of those! Damn it. Well, barrel-aged stout season is definitely in full swing. Hopeful this Barrel-aged Black Pit of Hatred with Coconut from Burnt City Brewing comes through for me.
Burnt City Brewing opened way back in 2012 by Ben and John Saller as Atlas Brewing (we had one of Atlas’ wheat beers on the show – how old are we!). After getting a cease and desist over the name Atlas, they changed it to Burnt City Brewing in 2016. Unfortunately their brewpub in Lincoln Park (with an attached bowling alley!) closed in early 2019. (Seriously, this feels like it was 5 years ago. Thanks pandemic.) Shortly thereafter, Burnt City teamed up with Around the Bend and Bold Dog to open the District Brew Yards in West Town. (Casa Humilde would join up as the fourth brewery later in 2019.) A District Brew Yards is also opening at some point in Pittsburgh.
Burnt City has also been a huge supporter of the kviek yeast strain, making numerous beers with the different types (Voss, HotHead and Hornindal) and also hosting Kviek Fest back in September 2019. (Hoping that fest returns at some post-pandemic point).
Black Pit of Hatred serves as Burnt City’s yearly imperial stout. As with most breweries nowadays, they’ve both barrel-aged it and threw in some adjuncts to vary things a bit. Big kudos to Burnt City for keeping the adjuncts to one per beer. This year Burnt City decided to use coffee, vanilla, and coconut in their Bourbon Black Pit of Hatred. I decided to go with the coconut!
Barrel-aged Black Pit of Hatred Coconut pours pitch black (it had better!) with a finger of light brown head. The head hangs around for a good ten minutes before finally calming down to a thin layer. Highlights? Not in the black pit of hatred! It moves slow in the glass, but I’ve seen beers move much, much more viscous. GAS (Glass Alcohol Stain) is minimal.
We here at ABV Chicago decided that in 2021, we’d Table the Label (#tablethelabel). (Yes, it took that from quite possibly the greatest inspirational video ever, Mr. T’s “Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool. Mr. T’s robotic rapping about mother – heck the whole thing – will change your life.) Why am I mentioning that now? Because Black Pit of Hatred has little to no coconut on the nose. Give this to me blind, I would not guess any coconut. However, a coffee roast, chocolate and dark fruits – specifically cherries – do come through big time. Licorice, raisins, and spices (wife says pink peppercorns). A tinge of bourbon burn tickle the nose, along with a hint of vanilla and oak.
Full disclosure – I’ve had the barrel-aged Black Pit of Hatred before. It was on the thin side with too much barrel presence for my tastes. But this one? Wow. The bourbon barrel integrates itself perfectly with the beer. This adds some lovely vanilla and even caramel to the proceedings without a ton of burn. Waves of sweet-but-not-too-sweet chocolate cascade along the tongue. Some spice and fruit notes show up as well, along with a hint of roast.
Notice something missing? Um, yeah, there’s little to no coconut on the taste. I will say a bit more came through on the flavor but if it wasn’t on the label, I wouldn’t have guessed it. Good that Burnt City didn’t make it sunblock, but bad for those expecting a Mounds bar. Again, 2021, #tablethelabel.
Riding that new barrel-aged beer wave, this 12% doesn’t drink anywhere near it. Good for finishing the can, bad for sobriety. The mouthfeel sits right in the pocket of where I like an imperial stout to fall – a big, coating mouthfeel that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Only the chocolate, vanilla and caramel hang around after they party’s over, but they’ll help clean up so it’s cool.
Black Pit of Hatred Coconut reminds me of a beer we did on a show recently – Lake Effect’s Fannie’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Cake Stout. Fannie’s featured lovely barrel integration and an overall delicious stout. But chocolate cake? No so much. If I bought that beer expecting tons of chocolate and/or cake, I’d be hugely disappointed. But it was still and expertly crafted barrel-aged stout.
I haven’t had the barrel-aged Black Pit with no adjuncts yet so I can’t compare, but I’m wondering what the difference between the two would be. The coconut version kicks as a beer but lacks the coconut. The District Brew Yards sells the Black Pit of Hatred as a mixed 4-pack, so my recommendation would be to pick that up and try all the variants. Based on what I had with the coconut version, you might not be happy about the lack of an adjunct, but you’ll be very happy about the overall beer.
Black Pit of Hatred is available at the District Brew Yards (417 N. Ashland) for pickup and delivery here. All four versions (barrel-aged, barrel-aged with coffee, barrel-aged with vanilla, barrel-aged with coconut) are available as a build-your-own 2-pack (pick-up at brewery only) or 4-pack. Each can costs $9.99.