Beer Reviews are penned by Nick Griffin, Five Boroughs Brewing Co.’s Head of Brewing and Quality Management.
45th Street is our deep, dark Imperial Stout conditioned on Irving Farm single-origin coffee, Ghanaian cacao nibs, and Madagascan vanilla beans. The resulting brew balances slight sweetness with notes of chocolate, roast, and coffee.
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal Malt, Chocolate Malt, Black Malt, Flaked Barley
Availability: 16oz/4pk cans & on draft
45th Street features a trio of interesting ingredients. Talk about the discussions & experimentation that drove the decision to add cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and Irving Farm coffee to our Imperial Stout.
Vanilla, Coffee, and Chocolate is a classic combination for these types of beers so for our first big stout we wanted to keep it simple and let the quality of the ingredients shine. We’ve worked with Irving Farm Coffee in the past so they were able to get us a variety of coffees to taste before we decided on a washed single-origin coffee from Honduras (Los Lirios). We get the roasted character we need from the malt which allowed us to experiment with lightly roasted, fruit-forward coffees to bring another dimension to the beer. The coffee character works well with the vanilla, cacao nibs, and viscous, chocolatey base beer.
What are the notable characteristics of this beer?
I think the most notable characteristic of this beer is its balance. The components are noticeable but don’t overshadow one another. The base beer is thick and intense (due to an 8-hour boil and a bunch of specialty malt) and the coffee and cacao bring some additional complexity. The vanilla beans add a hint of sweetness, but it is all balanced out by a punch of dark chocolate bitterness at the very end.
45th Street falls into a small, but popular category of craft beers. Talk about the existing landscape for this type of brew and the qualities that make 45th Street unique.
Big, high ABV stouts have been popular for a very long time. More recently there has been a trend of higher ABVs and more diverse ingredients (including natural and artificial flavorings), usually with a super high finishing gravity and a cloying sweetness. 45th Street plays in this category with its higher ABV and adjunct usage but is more balanced than the “pastry stouts” that are becoming the predominant option in the category.
Appearance: Dark black, persistent dark brown head.
Aroma: Dark malts, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and a hint of vanilla.
Taste: Intense dark chocolate, coffee, sweet vanilla, toffee.
Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, fluffy carbonation.
Food Pairings: Dessert!
Overall: A big ‘ol stout with classic ingredients. Really can’t go wrong.