Black Is Beautiful Review

Launched by Weather Souls Brewing Co. on June 1 following the death of George Floyd, Black Is Beautiful is a collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily and raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.

As of today, more than 1,158 breweries from 50 states and 21 countries have participated in the initiative.

I participated by brewing a modified Black Is Beautiful recipe and donating to the Idaho affiliate of American Civil Liberties Union and Inclusive Idaho.

My 4.2% ABV recipe featured Mecca Grade Lamonta, Rimrock and Opal 44 malts, Thomas Fawcett Pale Chocolate malt, Briess Midnight Wheat malt, Quaker Oats, and dextrose. Yakima Valley Columbus and Sabro hops were used in the boil before being fermented with Imperial Yeast A10 Darkness. After reaching terminal gravity, I added 600 ml of JavaPresse Honduras Brave Spirit cold brew coffee (made using 1:7 g/ml ratio) and 4 oz OliveNation Maple Extract before carbonating and packaging on August 22, 2020.

My version of the Black Is Beautiful recipe can be found here:

Appearance – This one looks like your prototypical stout – opaque Coca-Cola colored beer topped with an espresso tinted head. There is generous lacing that fills the tulip glass and suggests near perfect carbonation.

Smell – With the crack of the can lid, my nose is immediately filled with aromas of sticky maple syrup and diner coffee. Behind the intense breakfast aromas are rich notes of milk chocolate and hazelnut which remind me of Ferrero Rocher candy.

Taste – Following the lead from the aroma, the first sip of Black Is Beautiful tastes exactly like liquid Ferrero Rocher candy and Carnation Instant Breakfast. The cold brew coffee contributes a satisfying hint of coffee flavor in the finish without any noticeable bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and thick like a latte without any cloying sweetness or acrid bitterness. Despite clocking in at a mere 4.2% ABV, this beer could easily be mistaken for 6+%. I’m very satisfied with the mouthfeel of this one!

Overall – As a session stout, this recipe knocked it out of the park! It’s crushable, flavorful, nuanced and balanced. As a breakfast stout however, the flavor/aroma intensity falls below my expectations.

Changes For Next Time – I wanted something more in line with Great Notion Double Stack, but this seems more like its little brother. The coffee and maple extract could easily be doubled to push it into Great Notion territory. I enjoyed the flavor contributions from the Pale Chocolate and Midnight Wheat a lot and to be honest, I don’t think there is much I would change about the base recipe at all. A good start to my Mountain Stout series!

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