foreign stout


Upslope “Foreign Style Stout”

85 B

This Foreign-Export Stout is a winter seasonal originally brewed to commemorate the anniversary of Upslope. Tim, thanks so much for the can. Aromas give malty notes like cereal, roasted coffee, and milk chocolate. Further details have an earthy quality over an almost vinous twang.

The palate begins malty with a blend of bitter toast, coffee, and dark chocolate. Sweetness lands in the middle like burnt caramel. Bright, unripened dark fruit dances on the back-end with suggestions of cherry, currant, and plum. A tart, almost citric highlight creates an unusually sour climax. The aftertaste leaves behind a smoky quality as the roast continues to resonate. The mouthfeel begins fairly smooth, then thins out as alcohol descends, leaving a semi-dry conclusion.

The only other experience I’ve had with this style is the Guinness Foreign Extra from the US as well as the UK. Overall, I sort of enjoy the unusual aspects of this beer, because it makes this original. I can’t figure out which is the negative culprit here, but either the yeast or the hops provide a sour twang that throws things off balance a bit. I wish the malt roast dug a little deeper to help offset this effect. If you’re a stout fan, you’ll probably find enough here to enjoy, but I don’t really recommend it.


30 IBU

Boulder, Colorado


Ballast Point “Indra Kunindra”

88 B+

This seasonal foreign/export-style stout is incredibly unique, designed for the more adventurous of drinkers. It has its roots as a collaboration with a local San Diego home brewer. This particular style is known for its heavy roasted flavors, typically bringing in slightly more alcohol than the average stout, and so additional hopping follows suit. The unusual thing about this beer is the ingredients…Madras curry, cumin, cayenne, coconut, and Kaffir lime leaf! As you might imagine, the resulting aromas are novel and delightful. Curry comes through with abundance, coconut second, vanilla, cumin, brown sugar, hints of spicy cayenne, and port wine.

On the palate, spices immediately jump in with curry leading the way, followed by cumin. Malt flavors suggest a sweetness akin to caramel blended together with dark chocolate. Midway, coconut has a noticeable influence, followed by a touch of vanilla. Hops make a soft-handed sweep of herbal flavors accented by the right amount of bitter and sour to keep with the vibe of the beer. A cayenne spice begins to rise up near the finish, carrying a surprising degree of heat that lingers alongside some residual hop oils. The Kaffir lime leaf finally touches down, dancing with the coconut, curry, cayenne, and cocoa powder in a complementary way. The lime flavor also goes particularly well with the herb-toned hops. Mouthfeel is smooth, grows increasingly dry, climaxes a little crisp, then finishes a little chalky. Cayenne heat builds in the back of the throat from sip-to-sip, which hinders drinkability, but adds yet another dimension to this busy arrangement of flavor.

The main flavor components are taken from Indian cuisine, which is why this actually works. I It’s a little surprising just how well each ingredient slowly appears in sequence. I sort of wish they had just committed to a double stout instead, because I feel more sweet malt and greater emphasis on the roast would add needed depth. Considering the complexity of ingredients, Ballast Point has pulled this off considerably well. Though I myself like it, I can’t recommend it, because I know only a select audience would really be into it. If you like Indian food you’ll be much more likely to enjoy this. For those with the courage to indulge in these exotic herbs and spices in the context of a stout, I commend you.


50 IBU

San Diego, California

Elysian’s Dragonstooth Stout

Appearance: This is an excellent looking stout with it’s pitch black body and thin, but dense, dark tan head.

Aroma: The aroma carries a nice balance between sweet and roasty with the cocoa and roasted malts.

Taste: The roasted malts are the prominent flavor here but there’s an underlying sweet cocoa with some bitter dark chocolate with the dark chocolate coming on the finish and lingering a bit.

Overall: I like this beer and I think it’s priced well being $5 for a bomber. I wouldn’t have bought this, mostly due to the Ed Hardy reminiscent artwork, without a beer manager prodding me but I’m glad I did. This is a good imperial oatmeal stout and I think it’s well worth buying. 


Ska “Hibernal Vinifera Stout”

83 B-

This oak aged foreign-style stout is brewed with Malbec grape juice. The aroma is like chocolate covered cherries and a bit of booze. Smooth chocolate malts rest below, then red wine and hops that taste like oranges accent midway, and it finishes out grassy with dark chocolate and cocoa. The feel transitions from clean, to creamy, then thins out with a significant amount of solvent alcohol (yuck). There’s something not working with the combination of the grape juice + hop selection + flavors from alcohol. I think it was a daring sort of stout to brew, but it’s just not working out and needs some tweaking. Too boozy and too much grape juice. Not bad, but not recommended.



Durango, Colorado


Schlafly “Irish Style Extra Stout”

90 A-

This ‘foreign extra stout’ opens to a sweet and rich roasted grain aroma with sweet coffee notes. Roasted malts make an initially smooth and semi-sweet chocolate entry, then quickly transitions into a drying, rich cocoa with a light touch of vanilla . A big dryness is the dominant character to this stout, coming from the use of pale and roasted malts to create a characteristically dry 'Irish’ stout. Its assertive bitterness combines nicely with the dark roast to finish with a lightly burnt grain character and herbal hop notes. Coffee and bittersweet chocolate combine for a strong mocha flavor. On the underbelly lies a light fruity character paired with earthy notes and tobacco. A healthy hopping prevents a truly creamy feel, pairing with mild bubbly sharpness. Mild fruity alcohol esters come through, but are mostly well disguised.

The foreign title is indicative of higher gravity (8%), and I find the dryness appealing. It will leave you with a thirsty feel. I think Schlafly has hit on the style with a centered simplicity and surprising lightness despite the heavy roast and alcohol. I think it’s pretty solid, but may be a tad too sweet for the aim of style. It isn’t quite as refined as other Export Stouts, and the roasted character is a bit rough and not as bold as I anticipated. However, the good definitely outweighs the bad. I recommend you try this one.


45 IBU

St. Louis, Missouri