It’s getting cold out there and it is time to warm up and fully embrace stout season. For my next beer, I reached deep into my closet and dusted off a bottle I received last Christmas, shortly after Dann and Martha Paquette announced a conclusion to the Boston chapter of their Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project.
Beer Name: Fumapapa
Brewer: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
Style: Smoked Russian Imperial Stout
Description: The brewery’s archive lists this brew as a variant of their popular Barbapapa Russian Imperial Stout. Brewed without the use of adjuncts or barrel aging, the base stout was entirely the result of double mashing and a whole lot of barley. The Fumapapa version I had on hand is said to feature a slightly sweeter finish and the added touch of smoked barley. My bottle was dated December 2015, making it probably one of the last Pretty Things releases to go out. It seemed necessary that I borrow my wife’s Pretty Things glass for the first pour.
Appearance: The body was a deep, dark black topped off by roughly half a finger’s worth of thick tan foam. The head stuck around for most the beer, settling down to a thin layer across the top and sides while leaving nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Smell: Sweet malts, and bourbon-like heat.
Taste: Sweet, chocolate malts asserted themselves right from the start, joined later on by a bit of roasted coffee and a subtle yet distinct smoked flavor towards the end. The finish also brought a sweet, boozy character. As the beer sat in the glass and had a chance to warm up, the alcohol at the end took on a bit more heat and the smoke picked up a bit as well. Lots of big flavors going on this beer, but they all fit together wonderfully.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, thick, and super smooth to drink. The low carbonation made it easy to let all those bold flavors sink in.
Hype: Nostalgia is the better word. I miss having this brewery around and only have one more beer of theirs left in my closet.
Overall: This was a WOW! beer for me. Not being a big fan of smoky beers, I was a little hesitant going into this bottle but that aspect ended up coming through in a way that was nearly perfect for my preferences. This beer was a sipper for sure, but it drank so smoothly that it almost felt like it had no business being 12% despite tasting a bit hot. Everything worked in this beer, the smell was inviting, the feel was perfect, and every single part of the sweet/boozy/roasty/smoked flavor combination was deliciously enjoyable.
I will admit that I drank this over the course of two evenings; although I was daring enough to open it up alone on a work night, having an infant around has made me something of a lightweight and I couldn’t responsibly polish this off in one sitting. Fortunately for me, the bottle kept well overnight capped off by a wine stopper. #beerbloggerfail