If I were snowbound inside a mountain chalet for weeks and had one beer to stock my fridge, the Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout would be it. This may very well be one of the best stouts I’ve had. It has everything I enjoy about a stout, and despite it’s strength and intense flavor, has a smoothness that would allow me to drink way more of it than I should.
Immediately out of the bottle, you notice the black-as-night color and rich dark brown foam that forms at the head of the glass. It truly is an intimidating sight for the weak of heart. However, don’t let this initial fear overcome you, there is good yet to be found. Continue forward with courage…
As you raise the glass to your mouth, you notice the roasted aromas, bringing you back to a day gone by, perhaps even to this morning when you freshly ground your coffee for your morning brew. You do freshly grind your coffee, don’t you?
The taste of the Yeti is borderline perfect. It has a semi-sweet dark chocolate flavor, but it maintains a wonderful balance between bitter and sweet. Both flavor profiles come out nicely, but it is tremendously balanced. At the beginning, you get a sweet caramel flavor, but on the back end, you get a pleasant roasted coffee bitter finish.
The Yeti has a very creamy body, which contributes to the pleasant experience of drinking this beer. For those that do not generally like stouts, I recommend having a beer like this with dessert, as the sweetness will help calm down the bitter finish even more. The only downside to this beer is that it does have a slight alcohol twinge in the aftertaste that tingles the tongue. Personally, I enjoy anything that can tingle my tongue, so I don’t consider this a bad thing. At 9.5% ABV, I can hardly blame the Yeti for tingling.
Perhaps the greatest testament to this beer came at a beer tasting I MC’d a few months back. For dessert, I paired the Yeti with chocolate cake, and the Yeti was the first beer to be finished, despite it being the last served. Even those people that “did not drink beer” really enjoyed the Yeti. That is not necessarily a good thing, as non-experienced beer drinkers can like some bad beer, but in this case, I think they were right on. It is such an intensely flavorful, yet well-balanced beer that it has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, especially when paired with the right food.
So before the weather starts warming up, I highly recommend you try this beer if you have not already. It is best consumed on a brisk winter night by a roaring fire with a chocolate brownie in hand. Does life get any better than that?