22 ounce bottle purchased at Surdyk’s in Minneapolis. Sampled in a large snifter.
According to Ratebeer.com, Night Stalker is available in Denmark and the following US states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Washington DC, and Wisconsin.
A vigorous pour produces a large-bubbled, one-finger head, the color of espresso crema. The body of the beer is impenetrable black. Swirling the glass results in a vinous, viscous coating on the inside of the glass. This beer’s got legs, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, at 11.7% ABV.
This beautiful beer smells of caramel, dark chocolate and coffee, followed by significant hops bouquet. Toffee, brown sugar, and light licorice develop as the beer warms, as well as some alcohol character. By contrast, the hops are less in the nose as the temperature rises.
On the palate, chocolate, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toast, and significant hops bitterness all come into play right off the bat. There is a lot going on here. Coffee flavor becomes more prominent as I progress through the beer and perception of alcohol increases ever so slightly, but hops bitterness decreases notably. Finishes a little on the sweet side, but somewhat balanced by black malt bitterness.
This beer exhibits low carbonation, and proudly makes its presence known, at first thick and viscous, and later by becoming sticky in an almost cola-like way.
Now for the fun part:
After tasting the Night Stalker and loving it, I decided that it was a strong candidate for a treat I haven’t allowed myself in a while: a stout float. So I got out my Alden’s vanilla bean ice cream, carefully slid a few scoops into a half-pint of the stout, and then slowly poured the remainder of the Night Stalker over the top.
Perfect! The vanilla in the ice cream accentuates the coffee in the beer, and the brown sugar becomes straight up molasses. The chocolate comes in to play too, but not as prominently. This was definitely a good beer for my reintroduction to stout floats…. Maybe next time I’ll try chocolate ice cream to see if it accentuates the caramel flavors a little more.
This is a delicious imperial stout, and I recommend it as a sipper for dessert, or a pleasant night cap in the winter. Or, of course, a stout float!