Mean Old Tom (Maine Beer Company)
Style: American Stout aged on natural vanilla bean
Malt: American 2-Row, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Midnight Wheat, Caramel 40L, Flaked Oats
Hops: US Magnum, Centennial
Beer Bottled On: 08/10/2012
(Rated #1 Stout in New England by Boston Magazine)
As with Zoe, Maine Beer Company has designed perfection in simplicity on a bottle in regards to Mean Old Tom’s label. The flashy white paper isn’t as nice texturally as Zoe, but it still carries the environmentally conscious company feel, the personal anecdote on the back explaining the name, and the grumpy face. All these parts come together perfectly with the minimal text to make a beautiful beer label. The bottle is pretty sweet too, as it has more in common with wine bottles than the average beer bottle. This bottle and its label are both worthy of your shelf.
The beer pours a lovely coffee black with nice brown sugar notes on the edges of the glass. The head is puffy and colored like sand dunes, though it dissipates quickly, leaving long spider web curtains of sticky lacing on the sides and a ring of sandy fat bubbles on the edges of the glass. The smell is lightly roasty with some slight chocolate and coffee hints, and there’s also a sweet and slightly sour tinge of vanilla in the back and base of the smell. The beer’s taste begins wonderfully with a sweet vanilla that turns slightly sour as it lingers. Coffee and roasted notes are definitely present as well, bringing some lovely smoky notes to linger like a little campfire in your mouth. Vanilla coffee with a lightly soured milk are the dominant flavors in the beer. Mouthfeel is slightly tingly with carbonation but velvety smooth and chewy on the tongue. The beer leaves the mouth with a light dew drizzle of saliva on everything and a slight smoky dryness on the tongue that begs for more. The sweet is a little cloying from the vanilla, but that just makes this beer more of a sipper than a chugger. The beer also seems like it might do nicely with a little cellaring. Overall this is a very nice vanilla stout with great flavoring and has a lovely mouthfeel. Definitely worth a sip.