MUCH LIKE TALES of the mountain yeti itself, Great Divide’s imperial stout of the same name takes several forms, depending on the season, barreling, et cetera. This version’s prefix is ‘Chocolate Oak Aged’, which should be flipped—rather than being aged in chocolate oak, it is oak-aged with a focus on being more chocolaty than the standard Oak Aged version. But not by all that much.
Overall this Yeti retains its aggressive aroma and flavors of all things dark—smoke, blackened malts, cocoa, espresso, plus menthol and barrel vanilla. Served on tap (i.e. young), its color is espresso black with a solid dark tan head—retention is decent though lacing minimal. Some cayenne was also added to give some crackle to the finish, echoing the impression of the 9.5% ABV consistent to nearly all the Yeti clan. The chocolate is also are present, albeit more evocative of powdery dry cacao than milky sweetness. Indeed, aside from a little dark berry at the finish there is blessed little sweetness to be found in this beer, despite its full body and only moderate carbonation. Hops offer some slight prickle of spiciness and a bit of pine, though it is difficult to separate their bitterness from the grains’ in the finish.. and its concerted focus on blackened grains and malt bitterness left the beer a little ragged. Still it remains suitable to its name and provenance, a brawny beer for campfire sipping, and a fair alternative to many American liquid desserts masquerading as Russian imperial stouts.
Served: On tap (Clementi’s, Arlington Heights)