Brewing a big beer can be a tricky thing. You could double the malt and produce more fermentable sugars, dumping in a ton of hops to balance out the sweetness. Or you could use candied sugars to goose the alcohol without turning the brew into a syrupy sludge. In the right hands, both work wonderfully. But all too often, drinkers end up with a glass that smells of fusel and drinks like motor oil.
Neither is the case at Lafayette’s Endo Brewing Co. In the past, we’ve sung praises for the brewery’s spectacular bocks, but their expertise in strong ales is just as commendable, to wit: the recently-released Russian imperial stout, Comfortably Numb, is a thing of beauty.
Clocking in at 9.8% alcohol by volume, Comfortably Numb is pitch black with a quickly dissipating soft brown head. The nose has a nice, subtle roast, but the mouth is an explosion of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted barley and molasses. It hides its booze between sweet and creamy flavors and a lingering bitter finish. Drink during a snowstorm, and pair with a roasted vegetable soup and garlic bread.