Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
Writing this on one of the coldest night this city has recorded in meteorological recorded history, the soul craves certain things. Soup, tonight provided by Souper Market, specifically the new Kamm’s Corner location which, despite being furthest from the cellar was more importantly, the only one brave enough to stay open amid sub-zero temperatures. After jambalaya, stout is the next craving. Big, thick, full bodied and satisfying beer, one that warms as well as spicy Cajun stew.
If you want beer designed by those that know icy winters, you can’t go wrong with Oskar Blues out of Colorado. Winning a bronze medal at GABF for a low ABV stout, Oskar Blues back in 2002 and long before The Alchemist’s Heady Topper of our last review, took the innovative step to start canning. Protecting beer from light and all the bans on glass, the move seen by some as déclassé, proved that even good beer could come from a can.
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, a nicely hopped beer at 98 IBUs, brings it with even more force in the malts and alcohol content: The ABV is 10.5%, get it?
Out of the can Ten Fidy is a passive pour, with a short, dark brown head, shrinking immediately to a beer crew cut, topping a void black brew. The nose is all mats, mostly caramel over a hint of chocolate and floral hops. Tasting Ten Fidy is an experience in roasted malts and sweet grains. Chocolate, caramel candies, burnt sugar, roasted grains. The body, lifted only by a low carbonation presence due to the the high alcohol content, is at once thick and yet smooth, much like a milk stout might be. The finish is dark chocolate followed by hoppy bitterness, and slight alcohol burn and a dryness that beckons for another taste, and another.
This is a massive beer hiding in a diminutive can. The malts and sweetness pair wonderfully with the roasted elements and hops. The booze is balanced by the sugary taste. Finishing dry, with a nice hops presence keeps you wanting more of this highly drinkable high ABV Russian imperial stout. Astringency is minimal and the ‘soy sauce’ presence that so often ruins these big stouts is no where to be found.
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy is a triumph of a stout, one worth seeking out anywhere you can find it, especially when the weather turns so cold you’ll drive across town to satisfy soup cravings, and friends can’t stop posting pictures of car thermostats on social media.