First Impressions: Energy City Batisserie S’mores Stout
While once a very special treat that was reserved for a few breweries, s’more stouts are now coming out with increased regularity. Hell, we were even able to do an entire show just from releases from Chicago-area breweries. Batavia brewery Energy City has decided to get into the pastry stout game with their first entry in their Batisserie series with their S’mores Stout.
The base beer – and the base for all of the upcoming Batisserie series – is a tweaked version of their Truth Factory Imperial Stout. That stout first appeared in their first attempt at a s’mores pastry stout and head brewer/owner David Files said that people weren’t liking the roasty coffee notes from the stout, so he tweaked the recipe to get rid of the roast. And then added some lactose.
Seeing as how I’m an expert in s’more stouts (listen to the episode), this is a worthy entry into the s’more stout annals. There’s some head initially on the pour, but it quickly dissipates leaving behind only the beer and some clumps of something (probably either graham crackers, marshmallows or the cocoa powder); those clumps do absolutely nothing to affect the viscosity or taste of the beer. The beer is dominated by sweet cocoa chocolate, with vanilla/marshmallow in a supporting role.
And now we enter the Danger Zone. Not too sweet (thankfully), not too boozy (it’s 10%), and very drinkable. Uh-oh. Make sure you stay at home while drinking a can of this. Like the nose, it’s big on sweet chocolate, with some vanilla there on the end. A nice thick mouthfeel thanks to the lactose lets you know of its intentions of being a 10% imperial stout, and of course there’s some sweetness on the end, but not so much so that I couldn’t finish an entire 16 ounce can.
My only complaint is the lack of graham cracker. I think I’ve only ever tasted the graham cracker on one beer (Pipeworks S’more Money from that aforementioned podcast), and even then it was the third flavor (after chocolate and vanilla) and barely there. I know it ain’t a s’mores stout without graham cracker on the ingredient list, but it just seems like a waste to keep sacrificing otherwise s’more worthy graham crackers to appease the pastry stout overlord. Honey has been proven to work in beers previously; maybe put honey graham crackers on the label? It just seems a waste to put a ton of graham crackers in a beer – at a loss to the actual amount of beer itself in some cases – for such little benefit.
It’s my hope that we’ve moved on from the Donut Age of pastry stouts and into a more Croissant Age, with all the flavors there but not being over-the-top sweet. Even at 10%, I gladly finished the can in about an hour and still wanted more. If you’re a big fan of s’more stouts, this is definitely one to drive to Batavia to pick up. If I wasn’t so crotchety, I would as well, but if it does eventually make its way to bottle shops at some point (and that may happen as Energy City is looking into possibly brewing at Great Central) it’s a definite purchase for me.
Energy City will be releasing the Batisserie S’mores pastry stout on November 3 at their brewery located at 2 ½ W. Wilson Street in Batavia, IL (under Limestone coffee shop) for $15 per 2-pack of 16 ounce cans. This can was given to us for review by David Files of Energy City; if it sucked I would have said so. For those wondering, this beer would’ve finished second in the S’more You Know show rankings. So sayeth the S’morcerer.