Summit Brewing Company just keeps cranking out new brews. Between the Union Series and the Unchained Series they have had by my count five new releases this year. The latest from the Union Series, Rebellion Stout, came out just this past week. It seems that it is an extremely limited-batch brew. My sources tell me that retailers got very small allotments, meaning that in many places it has already sold out. Will there be more to follow? We can only hope.
Rebellion Stout is an example of foreign extra stout. This strong stout style was originally brewed for export to tropical regions of the British Empire. The BJCP describes two different varieties of foreign extra stout – tropical and export. The tropical version has lower roasted malt character and higher levels of malt and fermentation-derived dark fruit notes. The export variety is drier and roastier with less fruit. Examples of the tropical version available locally include Lion Stout and Xingu. There used to be more examples of the export style available in the Twin Cities. Guinness Foreign Extra, brewed since the 1800s was here for a bit, but now is apparently no longer available. You can still find the old Guinness Extra Stout bottles that used to be the only variety of Guinness available. This lack of local availability makes Rebellion Stout, an export version, a particularly welcome addition to the Summit lineup.
The focus of the Union Series is the use of new and new-ish brewing ingredients. This beer is hopped entirely with Boadicea Hops, an English variety described as having light spicy and floral aromatics. They also used Propino malt, an Irish base malt created for porters and stouts that was recently released in the US.
Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Tangy, noble-like hops lead off – spice, black currant, lime peel. Reminds me of Tettnang. After the second and third sniff, malt takes over – chocolate, dry graininess and light toast. Subtle coffee notes. Low alcohol.
Appearance: Voluminous, creamy, dark-tan foam with excellent retention. Opaque black. Appears clear.
Flavor: As in the aroma, tangy, noble-like, spicy/black currant hops hit first on the tip of the tongue. Malt quickly takes over and leads the rest of the way. Chocolate is the main note – semi-sweet amd dry like an Oreo cookie. Low caramel, grainy, and toasty malt flavors add complexity. Malted milk balls. Although made with Black Patent malt, there is no harsh or burnt flavor. Hop bitterness is low, assisted by bitterness from roasted malt. Finish is off-dry with lingering molasses, licorice, and chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Creamy. Velvet silk. Medium-full body. Low carbonation. Slightly warming.
Overall Impression: Rich and roasty, but with no burnt malt flavors, this high-test stout goes down super easy. Maybe a little too easy, as it’s quite tempting to down a few. This beer was lovely with a mild blue cheese, but it would stand up quite well to a more pungent one. It’s a shame that it might be so hard to find.