DR9 First Taste

December 3, 2009

Alright, after two days, I’ve finally found time to taste Saint Arnold’s Divine Reserve #9 – Imperial Pumpkin Stout. So time to walk through my thoughts as I enjoy it for the first time.

Upon opening the bottle, I take a good waft from the bottle neck to get a strong scent of gingerbread and a slight hint of pumpkin. There is also a hint of alcohol, but it’s not prevalent. I used a standard pint glass, my Shiner Commemorator glass, for my tasting. There’s no way I’d waste a solid beer like this straight out of the bottle, eliminating the smells.

DSCN0082 The pour is as dark as the bottle.

The pour comes out black with a slight caramel tint. The beer appears very lightly carbonated as there isn’t much of a head on it. What head there is comes as a dark tan. The smell here is definitely of alcohol, but there is a background of pumpkin spice. That 11% is definitely noticeable.

At initial contact, I can definite taste a bitter dark chocolate from the malt. Most of that flavor is nearer the front of the tongue. The middle taste moves to the side and back of the tongue, definitely bitter. My first few tastes, the bitter was overwhelming. I think this is due to drinking it before it either reached the right temperature or not letting it mellow enough.

The bitter taste finishes with a sweeter, yet still bitter, pumpkin pie taste in the finish. The aftertaste is more of a pumpkin spice than pumpkin pie. The finish is also very dry.

As I’ve worked through the 12 oz. bottle, it’s definitely improved in taste, so on my second tasting I think I’ll let it mellow out a bit more and warm up a little bit before enjoying it.

The end product has been delicious. I’m not a huge stout fan, but it’s been pretty good. It’s a shame I haven’t been able to get any of the previous DR beers. Several have claimed this to be the best yet from Saint A’s, so hopefully they continue the streak of ever improving but still great beers.


DR9: I got me some

December 1, 2009

saint arnold divine reserve no 9

That, my friends, is Saint Arnold’s Divine Reserve No. 9, an Imperial Pumpkin Stout. What is an Imperial Pumpkin Stout, you might ask? I’ll let Saint A’s explain the beer for you:

Important: let this beer warm to at least 50° before enjoying.  This beer is black with some ruby highlights.  The nose is full of pumpkin pie spices and some alcohol.  There are notes of nutmeg, caraway and vanilla.  The taste starts with chocolate malt with a hint of spice and rolls into a warm spicy alcohol taste which has the effect of creating the balance that usually comes from the hop bitter.  There is some hop bitter on the finish, but not much.  Overall, this beer finishes relatively dry for such a big beer.  As it warms, the spices move forward in the taste and the chocolate moves to the finish.  The pumpkin provides a pleasant undertone and a nice mouthfeel.  The spices will probably fade some over time; they mellowed considerably while still in the fermenter.

There are only 1,500 6-packs, 23 half-barrels, and 20 1/6 barrels of this brew, and it’s a hot commodity in the Houston area right now. Several stores have already sold out, and others will be inundated with Saint Arnold fans in the next few days as the last couple of stores receive their shipment. This has to be the fastest a $15 6-pack of beer has ever sold.

Saint A’s has the hashtag of #DR9 already set up on twitter for those trying to find locations that still have it, and the tag has been surprisingly busy today. I’ll be doing my initial tasting a bit later tonight. I’ve got a differential equations exam tomorrow, and the 11% alcohol by volume may not be the best study catalyst.