Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stillwater Vacuum Readymade Review

Name: Stillwater Vacuum Readymade
Style: Black Ale/Smoked Black IPA
ABV: 8%

It's been a couple of months since I've looked at anything from Stillwater Artisanal Ales so I figured why not look at something that is somewhat more on the niche side, a Smoked Black IPA. I give to you Vacuum Readymade, a name that looks like something you'd see on poorly translated Chinese packaging that one would find at a 99 cent store.

Which begs the following questions, why is there a picture of a handheld vacuum on the label? More importantly, why call it that name? Never fear, for Stillwater has kindly (sort of) told us why this is the case:

"The layout of the label reinforces the absurdity by recalling both early promotional materials from Braun and Alfred Stieglitz's photo of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain".

..................I have no idea what that even means so rather than focus on it more, I'll just nod my head in agreement and move on to the beer.

Appearance - Pitch black color with no visible carbonation. The head starts out about 2 fingers in width with a khaki colored head. After which it settles to a filmy half-finger in width and there's some good lacing to be had here.

Aroma - Roasted barley and chocolate malts upfront, followed immediately by some pungent bitter hoppiness & mild smokiness. I am getting a hint of toffee sweetness in the back too.

Taste - Moderate chocolate malts, followed by some mild encompassing smokiness and a big roasted barley profile, after which the bitter hoppiness starts to poke its head through. On the back end of the palate is some more roasted barley with an aftertaste of mild smokiness and strong coffee grains.

I'm not sure where the idea of calling this a black IPA came from because I feel this is more like a cross between a Black Ale & a Baltic Porter. At the same time though, I feel that it doesn't quite reach the potential it could from a flavor standpoint, like you know this beer was meant to be awesome but it isn't quite there yet; It just isn't working for me for some reason. I'd say buy a single bottle of this and decide for yourself because 4-packs of this are a tad pricey.

Stillwater Vacuum Readymade - 7.5/10

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