Maine Beer Company – Mean Old Tom

Maine Mean Old TomTHE WORDS ‘VANILLA BEAN’, ‘aged’, and ‘stout’ typically have decadent associations in the beer world and are often accompanied by double-digit ABVs and garish branding. But Maine Beer Company rejects such lavishness, as evinced by their minimalist labels, understated names (Another One, Lunch, Mo), and universally sturdy mantra, “Do What’s Right.” And by their beers, of course, whose hallmark is balance.

So it is with Mean Old Tom, a 6.5% American-style stout aged on vanilla beans. Naturally quite redolent of vanilla at first, the nose also has generous notes of pumpernickel, coffee grounds, a touch of hop earthiness, and roasted grains. Its flavors continue all of these themes, albeit with an extra surge of molasses towards the finish that helps mitigate the roasted aftertaste.

With a generous mash including oat, wheat, barley, chocolate, and caramel malts, the beer has plenty of grains to substantiate its body. Yet its final gravity still only comes out to around 1.018. The vanilla’s smooth textures imply a fuller mouthfeel while the liquid’s limber presence on the palate leaves relatively few residuals. Bitterness is fairly low, carbonation is moderate throughout, alcohol is hardly a thought, and the drinking altogether is breezy. Who said Old Tom was mean?

Served: 22 oz bottled 12.10.13

Rating: 88

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