I love beer, and I love coffee. Stouts are an intersection of the two. Logically, this should make me a “stout guy,” but that’s not exactly the case. While I can appreciate the rich, chocolaty goodness of these beers, I find that I can only drink them sparingly. A four pack takes me a month or two to finish, and a sixer will take another month or so on top of that. They’re not casual drinking beers — your dad has never come in post-yard work to guzzle some espresso-flavored thing that’s like 10% ABV. I personally save them for special occasions… or for when there’s nothing else in my fridge and I’m trying to start a beer blog.
The beer I’ll be talking about today is the acclaimed YETI Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company. This beer was purchased in a four pack a few months ago from the Keg ‘N’ Bottle in Isla Vista, CA.
My receptacle of choice for this brew was a Bell’s Brewery pint glass, taken from a Woodstock’s Pizza also in Isla Vista, CA.
Bottle Art: A white silhouette of Sasquatch (a Sasquatch?) in the iconic mid-walk pose is layered on top of a brown-on-brown background: dark brown mountains and trees, and behind them, a sky of slightly lighter brown. There is so much brown. The bottle itself is also brown. And the liquid contained within the brown bottle is an impossibly dark shade of brown. The only relief from the onslaught of brown is the bright red cap, which makes me happy for some reason and also reminds of A Life Aquatic. For note, Great Divide’s font choice makes me think of sharks. Do y’all see it too?
And I’m curious about the Sasquatch/Yeti differentiation. At what point does a Sasquatch become a Yeti? It was always my belief that a Yeti was just a Sasquatch that hung out in the snowy hills of the Orient. But some cursory research reveals that Yetis are in fact a different creature altogether — discussed alongside Sasquatches only because both animals are giant and ape-ish. If that’s the case, it looks like Great Divide may have dropped the ball on this one. The entire branding of this beer is clearly based around the North American Sasquatch. That’s gonna hurt their score in this review.
Beer Appearance: The head of this beer looks like the surface of the richest chocolate milk you’ve ever seen. It turns a little dusty and reddish as the beer warms up, further reminding me of carbonated choco milk.
The beer, I think, compares well with the La Brea Tar Pits: both conceal secrets older than man beneath their black, bubbling goo. I was hesitant to look directly at the beer. I was afraid something might stare back, afraid the brew might reveal to me the etchings of the universe, occult things beyond comprehension and beyond sanity.
I’d advise against prolonged eye contact.
Smell: The beer smelled almost exactly like raspberry dark chocolate. Stouts, in general, aren’t known for being fruity, and YETI isn’t an exception, but I definitely sensed some raspberries at play in there.
Side note: Has “raspberry” always had a “P” in it? What’s up with that? This is kinda like that Berenstein/Berenstain thing for me. Anyways, moving on…
Taste and Overall Impressions
YETI describes itself as
“…an onslaught of the senses. It starts with big, roasty malt flavor that gives way to rich caramel and toffee notes. YETI gets its bold hop character from an enormous quantity of American hops. It weighs in at a hefty 75 IBUs.”
My first taste of YETI was when it was cold and fresh out of the bottle. That “bold hop character” was definitely there. It just tasted like hops and malt… and not much else. In these early stages I did, however, taste a bit of coffee. It was like the taste profile of undiluted cold brew concentrate, which I’ve only drunk once and by accident.
As my YETI warmed up, dark chocolate notes came into the mix, and I mean really dark, bitter chocolate. Chocolate thrown into the smoker for half an hour. The hops were still there, as was the taste of burnt malt, but I found that the bitterness subsided as the stout reached a proper temperature. The taste of very darkly roasted coffee, though faint, lingered in the background.
I need y’all to understand — this is a robust beer, not chuggable in any sense unless you lost a bet or have a legitimate death wish. You gotta drink it with patience. It’s a lumberjack in beer form, or maybe a cowboy. Someone tall, dark, handsome, who smells vaguely of smoke at all times. Someone who possesses a strong southern drawl, a mode of speech which is alluring initially but sickening before long.
This beer votes Libertarian, but it has enough tact to avoid political discussions.
This beer loves Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”
This beer manspreads but is polite about it.
If Guinness is a meal in a glass, then Great Divide’s YETI Imperial Stout is two or three courses.
This is a beer and a half. Strong, full bodied, rich, smoky — you can’t go into this expecting some yummy little milk stout. This is the real deal. Expect to drink only one, and if you’re out on the town, expect you’ll need a ride home.
Suggested for: stout and porter lovers, dark chocolate aficionados, coffee fans, pregamers who dislike hard alcohol.
ABV: 9.5% IBUs: 75