Evil Twin “Ashtray Heart”
Ashtray Heart is a Smoked (Imperial) Stout released as a fall seasonal. Aromas give roasted barley notes that come across like Dutch cocoa, burnt coffee, wood ash, and campfire smoke. Dull caramel sweetness blends with a touch of oatmeal.
The palate makes a bittersweet beginning, where malts begin to taste like a bar of 85% dark chocolate. Light caramel rushes into richer layers of coffee, followed by subtle grain character. Sweetness is quite light for this style, especially as it backs down to make way for a tart infusion of berries and red wine. While a sensitive bitterness descends, hops manage to sneak in a minor touch of earth. All the smoke falls to the back, leaving a lasting flavor of burnt tobacco as the barley roast continues to smolder. Mouthfeel gives a smooth intro before active carbonation takes over, resulting in a coarse, bubbly texture that slowly dries out near the end.
Honestly, I think this needs a little work. When compared to the standard Double, the malts aren’t applied in the same weight I’ve grown accustomed to, so it’s not quite as zealous as I tend to prefer. Both sweetness and bitterness are unusually low, so when blended with the sour component, the balance doesn’t taste quite right. It has quick flavor decay without much overbleed, so it drinks considerably easy, especially since the alcohol is well-concealed (8.9% is a comfortable digit — not too high or too low). Overall, it’s been a real genuine “smoked” experience, but unfortunately, I don’t find a very desirable Double Stout at the core. Simply put, there are better tasting Impy Stouts sold at a cheaper price, and they have more alcohol! I think it’s at least worth trying once if have a passion for smoked brews.
$13.89 / 4-pack
Brewed in Stratford, Connecticut