An Imperial in Standard Clothing
A Review of Barbie Stout by Mikkeller
Posted on 8/22/2012 by Chops
                   
Delicious
As beer drinkers begin to hone their craft beer palate, they start to notice a lot of interesting phenomenon. One of the more intriguing is the affect of environment on taste. Yes, the place you enjoy a beer can actually affect the taste of said beer. If you are in a place that makes you calm and happy, you will have a more relaxed and open minded experience. But if you are in a loud and stressful place, you are more likely to seek out and harp on any tiny flaw (assuming of course that you are even paying attention to your beer choice). This is why the Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen is such an amazing place to enjoy quality beer. It's quiet, charming, warm, and always inviting. It's a place that says, ''relax, unwind, enjoy a tasty beer.'' I definitely took my time to enjoy many fantastic beers. One of those was the Mikkeller Barbie Stout.

In the glass, this beer has a stark black coloration with no edging. It comes with a creamy copper head that had good retention. On the nose, I detected a rich sweet mocha-like roast with wisps of vanilla and dark chocolate. It was a delightful introduction, a perfect compliment to my peaceful candle lit corner.

My initial impression from the first taste ended up being an interesting disconnect between flavor and aroma. Not a bad thing mind you, just a slight swing of expectation. The flavor is actually much harsher than the aroma lets on. The roast is much bolder, like that of straight black coffee. The dark chocolates are also amplified, taking on a bittersweet character that provides a great counterweight to the roast. The sweet vanilla notes from the aroma were significantly muted and played no discernible role. The mouthfeel is quite gritty and actually drinks a lot like a black coffee. The hop profile is also pretty bold. It starts off as a tingle in the middle ground and then asserts itself on the finish. The finish itself is quite dry and exits with a stingy bitter roasted aftertaste.

Overall, Mikkeller's Barbie Stout is a delicious brew that is perfectly fit for darker palates. Fans of stronger malt roasts will certainly appreciate this brew as a flavorful treat. It still might be a bit combative for novices, so I would proceed with caution. I found Barbie Stout to be a wonderful example of why environment matters. There are reasons not to like this beer and anyone with a chip on their shoulder will misdiagnose them. But, the cool calm of the Mikkeller Bar allowed me to appreciate this beer for what it is: an imperial in standard clothing.

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Barbie Stout by Mikkeller
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