Monday, May 11, 2015

The Craft Critique: Maumee Bay Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout

When asked what the difference was between a generic stout and a breakfast stout, a good friend of mine who happens to be a home brewer responded with this:

"Oatmeal stouts are usually considered breakfast, but it's one of those arbitrary designations. It's whatever the brewer wants to call it."

Seems simple enough, right? LOL I'm not so sure. I have perused a variety of websites and haven't been able to suss out a discernible definition, so I will go with his.

Anyway... This installation of The Craft Critique takes a look at my recent sampling of Maumee Bay's Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout. The brewery has this to say about their brew.

"Maumee Bay Brewing Company’s Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout is a hearty meal in a glass. As it pours, it devours the light and your glass is filled with darkness. This massive beer brewed with espresso beans (from Flying Rhino in Toledo, OH), oatmeal, and lactose offers a rich and complex taste that begs to be savored. With a smooth carbonation and luscious roasted malt flavor, you will fade to black as you slowly sip this finely crafted brew. We recommend serving at 45-50 degrees in your favorite snifter. It’s nothing but total bliss from Maumee Bay Brewing Co."

Want to know what I think of this beer? Keep reading!

Appearance
This beer pours dark as night and is not penetrated by the light. Topping this inky black beer is a short, tan colored head that quickly fades but never completely disappears. As I drank this stout, the head left a good amount of sticky lacing that clung to the sides of the glass.

Smell
This beer is very espresso forward in aroma with back notes of alcohol that linger. In between the two there are mild notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and dark fruits mixed in. It is a very pleasant combination of scents and none overpower the others.

Taste
This beer is strong and bold from the first sip to the last. Coffee, dark chocolate and caramel maltiness are the most obvious flavors to this beer but as it warms a wide variety of flavors creep in.  A creamy milkiness appears as it warms, as does the richness of vanilla. A boozy end was present from start to finish as I enjoyed this beer, but it becomes more pronounced as it warms.

Mouthfeel
For as heavy as this beer it, it offers a soft amount of carbonation. It is neither bubbly nor flat and feels "just right" against my palate. It is full and well rounded-a nice balance overall. As it passes over my tongue, a slight tingling sensation becomes apparent that lingers.

Overall Impression
I can understand why this beer rates so highly on Beer Advocate. It is a rich, full bodied brew that strikes a nice balance between sweet and bitter without ever becoming too much. It's 9.1% ABV packs a nice mind numbing punch without knocking the drinker out. But I caution you to either enjoy this after a meal or drink it slowly because it will sneak up on you! I would recommend this beer highly for holiday celebrations and cooler weather as it is a bit heavy. It would pair nicely with chocolate desserts such as cheesecake or mousse, where the flavors have the chance to meld together or those featuring the bright, fresh flavor of strawberry, cherry or raspberry where the flavors can contrast each other. The tang of barbecue would pair nicely with this beer, as well.

Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout is available on draft at select locations and for purchase in 4 pack bottles. For more information about Total Eclipse or Maumee Bay Brewing, please visit their website, Facebook or Twitter.


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