Cerebral Brewing of Denver is relatively new to the scene, it was founded in 2013 by three friends: Sean Buchan, Chris Washenberger and Dan McGuire. The name was birthed from head brewer Buchan have a Dr. designation to his name and Washenberger being a microbiologist. The brewery began picking up steam not long ago, but has an impressive following, especially considering the crazy amount of new breweries popping up, specifically the high consolidation in the Denver area.

Today’s beer is Barrel-Aged Forever Awake, a 12.9 percent ABV imperial milk stout aged in rye whiskey barrels for 10 months with a healthy dose of custom roasted Guatemalan coffee beans provided by Middle State Coffee. It was released on Sept. 21, 2018 at the brewery during the Great American Beer Festival along with another beer, Barrel-Aged Ancient Ruins, a blend of 20-month port finished bourbon barrel aged stout and eight-month bourbon barrel aged stout finished on Dominican cacao nibs from Culture Craft Chocolate.

The beer is part of an ongoing series of coffee stouts to “showcase single origin or unique blends of coffee from around the world”, per the beers description.

Barrel-Aged Forever Awake pours like one would expect an almost 13 percent ABV monster of a stout to pour: completely black with a very thin tan head, that turns into a halo of tiny bubbles as it rests in the glass.

This is a coffee shop in a bottle with the first whiff is a very bold and roasty rich coffee aroma. There are notes of vanilla, oak and rye spice, but the scent is overwhelmingly coffee forward. There are some nice notes of milk chocolate and sweetness intermingled as well.

The balance of rich sweet roasted notes and some bitter strong espresso expressions is nice. As is the rye whiskey on the back end, almost creating a Mexican hot chocolate vibe with some spicy notes resembling some earthy cinnamon notes. I’m getting some sweet chocolate flavors as well, presumably from the base beer being a milk stout. There is a nice sweet creamy finish to the beer that I am really enjoying as well.

Cerebral Barrel-Aged Forever Awake (2018)
BREWERY: Cerebral Brewing
LOCATION: Denver, Colo.
STYLE: Imperial Milk Stout
ABV: 12.9 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $25
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21, 2018
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
Overall, I’d say Cerebral did an amazing job showcasing its take on what is a very popular style of beer, a barrel-aged coffee stout. The flavors are certainly an amazing combination, but Cerebral did great at balancing everything out, specifically with some of the bitter coffee notes that keep it from being too sweet and also using a rye barrel for some different notes than a bourbon barrel would have lent to the beer. There are a lot of really nice details in this beer and just a solid pour all together. If coffee stouts are your jam, this is one to seek out.
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