We’re excited to announce the Brewery-only release of Black Harbor Stout, an Imperial Stout aged with Taza-roasted cocoa nibs, coffee, and Tahitian and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. To give it some spice we added black and smoked black pepper. Oh – and it’s also aged in Utopias barrels. NBD.
We chatted with Eryn Bottens, R&D Brewer at the Boston Brewery, to talk about the inspiration behind the beer and the perfect time to enjoy it (hint: it’s right now).
What’s the story behind Black Harbor Stout?
We wanted to make a big stout that had some interesting characteristics. We were particularly interested in how black pepper, vanilla beans, coffee beans, and cocoa nibs could work together to create a rich roasty sweetness that also has a touch of smoky spice.
What inspired that flavor profile?
Taza chocolate has a black pepper cocoa chocolate wheel that I thought was delicious. We wanted to see what it would be like to drink it.
Is there anything unique about the brewing or aging process for this beer?
This beer took six different trials in the Nano Brewery to get right. We had to figure out the right levels of each ingredient to see what would work best together. In the final recipe, we found that the flavors from the coffee and cocoa nibs were going to be higher than we originally thought, and the vanilla beans overwhelmed very easily, so we dropped it down quite a bit.
This is also one of the first beers outside of Utopias that only a portion of the blend is barrel aged. It’s always interesting for me to play around with Utopias barrels – it mellows, but also deepens the flavor profile of this style.
When would you enjoy this beer?
This beer is perfect for a cold snowy day, which I suppose is fortunate with the elongated winter here in Boston. It also goes really well with a rich, hearty meal like a lamb stew.
Black Harbor Stout is available in 750ml bottles for $19.99 ONLY at the Boston Brewery. This beer was a limited run, so get it while you can!