Even just hearing someone say Dogfish Head gets me excited to hear the next words out of their mouth. Since I have started my craft beer journey, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has been and will always be one of my favorite breweries and never ceases to amaze me at the awesome beers that come from them. Sam Caliagone and his brewery always keep it interesting with new beers, featuring odd ingredients and extreme beers pushing the limits of abv,
The most recent news, actually huge news to come from Dogfish Head is the recent merger with The Boston Beer Co., parent of Sam Adams. In terms of collaborative projects, one of the first teasers from the merger is a Utopia-aged World Wide Stout. Aging Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout in the same barrels that held the high ABV Utopias has got to be a good thing and one that I very much look forward to.
In the meantime, I am going to pop open and review one of Dogfish Head’s extreme ABV beers: Oak-Aged Vanilla World Wide Stout. Using the original World Wide Stout as the base, the beer is then aged in oak barrels and conditioned on fresh vanilla beans. This bottle was filled in 2016 and released shortly after so I am excited to see how it has aged after 3-4 years.
A medium pour produces about a half finger of tan head and the color of the liquid is near black with some dark, opaque brown on the outer edges. The first aromas to hit my nose are alcoholic malts and vanilla and they continue throughout the whole process. Hopefully, the complexity will come in the taste, mouthfeel and finish.
The first sip definitely lets me know that the ABV is high, between 16-17.5 percent. After the initial burn, flavors of vanilla and heavily roasted malts emerge. The vanilla is very strong and has a little bit of roasted marshmallow in it. On the back end, I am getting a light touch of the oak, some raisins, coffee and bitter chocolate. There is a lot going on and overall, everything balances quite well, although the vanilla seems to be just a bit over the top. Mouth feel is lightly bitter, full of roastiness, some dryness from the oak and continues with the coolness of the vanilla beans. Carbonation is great for the style and the finish is nice, as the vanilla finally takes a back seat and reminds me that there is a lot of seriousness going on with this beer.