Beer of the Week: Elysian Brewing Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Living in Seattle, which does have a slight (and justified) reputation for being an over-caffinated city, you would expect that you would see more coffee based beers, but you don’t. For the 2012 Seattle Beer Week, Elysian Brewing was selected to come up with the beer for the event and they produced Split Shot Stout – marrying the city’s love of coffee with its love of beer. I generally will try anything new that Elysian puts out and I really think that their dark beers tend to be their best work. I have tried Split Shot both on tap and in 22 oz. bottles, and the review is for the bottle release. The beer runs around $6 at your local bottle shop (although it is often on sale at mega marts with a better beer selection).

From the Elysian Press Release on the beer:

In Seattle, beer and coffee grew up together. They’re like siblings, jealously balancing the day between go-go and go-slow, dividing the hip and tattoo’d into brewers and roasters, barkeeps and baristas. Split Shot Coffee Milk Stout combines the talents of Elysian Brewing and Lighthouse Roasters, and commemorates not only Seattle Beer Week as its official beer for 2012, but the fact that it took a lot of talk and lot of Lighthouse coffee to get Elysian off the ground back in 1996. Split Shot has a radically complicated malt bill, with C-15 and C-45 dextrine malts, Franco-Belges kiln coffee malt, Black, Roasted and Chocolate malts and flaked oats. It’s bittered with Magnum and slightly sweetened with milk sugar. OG 16 (1.065); alcohol 7.25% by volume., Split Shot is the official beer for 2012 Seattle Beer Week. Available in select Seattle area restaurants, bars and stores, on draft and in 22-oz. bottles.

Split Shot pours with a tan head and a pitch black body. There is absolutely no question what this beer is from the smell – coffee and lots of roasted malt dominate and that is from a foot away from the beer. Up close, this beer smells like a coffee shop roasting its beans – heavy espresso with hints of smoke and grains, taking me back to my bachelor days when I lived near Lighthouse coffee and would smell them roasting beans in the afternoon. The beer has a creamy mouth feel, like taking a sip of espresso with a good crema. Lingering coffee dominates the palate, with a slight bitterness and just a hint of malt and milk sweetness on the back end – this beer could easily be confused for an iced espresso. The coffee is strong but not completely overpowering, but I would still not recommend this beer unless you really liked coffee. As the beer warms, the coffee becomes more restrained and notes of chocolate, sugar, barley and grain start to appear. I would recommend serving this beer between 40 and 45 degrees if you like slightly bitter coffee and 45 to 50 degrees if you want to taste the full range of flavors that this beer has to offer.

If you like coffee and beer, get your over-caffeinated self to a bottle shop and pick this one up, you won’t regret it.

Elysian Split Shot Stout shakes itself down to the local coffee shop with a delicious 4 grande, non-fat mocha with whips out of 5.

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