Saturday, December 8, 2007

Beer Review: World Wide Stout

Last night, I finally got my hands on a bottle of Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout. Now, this has been a long-awaited event for me, since I'm a huge fan of that Delaware craft brewery and a huge fan of big, bold stouts, but the World Wide was never distributed anywhere I could get it before now. When I saw it in the cooler down at Bottleworks, I very nearly squealed with glee. I restrained myself only upon realizing that squealing with glee would probably result in the revocation of my license to drink stouts on grounds of weenieness.

Anyway, I picked up two bottles, and the ultimate verdict is that I will be picking up as many more as I can carry and cellaring them for a good year or three. World Wide, like everything else Dogfish has ever done as far as I can tell, is amazing.

First off, let's just go with the information on the bottle: it says that it's a very dark beer, and it is, though it's not as pitch-black as some toastier stouts, and that it's brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley. As to that, the stuff is a positively astonishing 20% alcohol by volume, so they are not kidding. One 12-ounce bottle of World Wide is enough to knock you for a loop if you're not careful. This is definitely a brandy snifter or tulip glass beer, by the way, not a pint glass.

I'll need to try another bottle to really reinforce my impression of the flavors, but there is a veritable symphony of them. I caught a strong mix of toffee and maybe raisin or currant (not surprising since raisins are one of Dogfish Head's favorite flavoring ingredients, although I don't know if there were actually any in this brew), but very little of the astringency and toastiness you usually expect in a really dark beer. As I mentioned, it wasn't pitch black, so I expect that lack of burnt character is due to relatively less black patent malt or whatever equivalent they might have used. A smaller amount of bittering hops, as well, compared to many other big stouts; it was definitely bittered, but not bitter. Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of alcoholic bite to it, though the kick was evident in other ways - there was very little head on the pour, but there was a definite headiness to the mouthfeel.

This stuff is big, by the way. It is not for folks who think that Guinness is a stiff drink.

Anyway, while World Wide Stout was quite an experience straight off the shelf, I think with some time to age, mellow, and blend, it will be a positively sublime draught. An A- beer now, but with an anticipated appreciation to an A+ with cellaring.


hdofu said...

the Dogfish people are right, it does have more in common with port then a normal beer. It is like a combination of imperial stout and a doppelbock

hdofu said...
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