It’s on like Black Dawn: the results

22 Jan

And the winner is…well….depends who you ask! but in the spirit of this post, we agreed on a tie:

Black Dawn III (single origin El Salvador) and 2009 Pre-Dawn Imperial Stout

Everyone had listed those beers as either a #1 or #2 on their individual rankings. Below are all the details on each of the beers in order to help you decide which Lompoc to visit over the next couple of weeks.  I know the El Salvadorian is on tap at the Sidebar right now, but you will have to check with your local Lompoc to see which Black Dawns they are currently serving as some of the years and blends are extremely limited from what Zach, the brewer, tells me.

2009 Pre-Dawn Imperial Stout: the nose on this beer was bittersweet chocolate (mmmm…my favorite kind). On first taste, there is a clear chocolate malt and roasted bitterness that finishes slightly sweet. The alcohol definitely came through clearly, but not too strong.  After the beer warmed, we also detected a subtle, underlying dark fruit, like black current or blackberry, in the finish. The body was rich and hearty, just the way a stout should be. This was an extremely good beer all on its own, not just as a fantastic base for the Black Dawn.

Black Dawn II: the coffee came through very clearly in the nose of this beer, but to our surprise, there were also clear vanilla notes. This was the perfect introduction as this beer was creamy and chocolate-y accompanied by a prevalent coffee flavor. This was a very smooth, drinkable beer, the alcohol no longer noticeable. Aging appears to have done wonders as this was better than any of us remembered. I believe the words amazing and fantastic were muttered around the table.

Black Dawn III: the alcohol was slightly more noticeable, like the Pre-Dawn. But the flavor profile is definitely more like the Black Dawn II. It has a definite coffee nose, with just a little less vanilla. In this version, the sweet fruity finish was also back – we wondered if the base for the III was very similar to the 2009 Pre-Dawn. The blend of coffees in this beer were very nice, and smooth; they did not overpower – this was a very well balanced, complex coffee stout.

Black Dawn III (single origin Peru): you could definitely smell the richness of this beer, the malts and a true, dark roast coffee. The vanilla we noted on the II was no longer prevalent in this version.  Again, the flavors of this beer were definitely as expected from the nose. And all of us really enjoyed the strong roast that balanced the chocolate and sweet malts.

Black Dawn III (single origin El Salvador): Our table agreed that among the whole line-up, this beer had the strongest bitter coffee taste and smell, like a cup of French press. So much so that the aftertaste was very similar to the aftertaste when you are drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. A couple of people weren’t sure they could drink a whole pint. My opinion – bring it on! This was the pint I ordered at the end of the tasting. It was nice to have more than a hint of coffee in my stout. I liked the bold richness of full-flavored coffee and stout.

Overall: a great night! the release party was fun and the various Black Dawn’s were executed beautifully. We applaud Zach over at the New Old Lompoc.

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