As brewers strive to incorporate new ingredients and unique ideas for their beers, we are sometimes offered one-of-a-kind or totally bizarre beers to buy and sample. The number of breweries increases each day and it takes an open and creative mind to find something different that no one else has ever attempted. The result is sometimes amazing and other times, it is not really a success and falls flat of the expectation.
In 2015, Evil Twin Brewing teamed up with Lervig Aktiebryggeri out of Norway to attempt one of these beers.
The beer in question is Big Ass Money Stout. The can, when I purchased it, confused me as on the label there were slices of pizza; and of course the label intrigued me. A great summary of the beer was published on Grubstreet.com in 2015, prior to the original release and was written as follows:
Wanting nothing more than to make “something really stupid,” Evil Twin and Tørst’s Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and brewer Mike Murphy, of Norway’s Lervig Aktiebryggeri, have collaborated on the stunt beer to end all stunt beers. The result, called the Big Ass Money Stout, is brewed with a frozen ham-and-peppers pizza from hugely popular Norwegian brand Grandiosa, and money that’s added after fermentation, the idea being that it honors Norwegians who are flush with cash. The pairing isn’t totally random: The two ingredients were chosen by Murphy after Jarnit-Bjergsø asked him to give the beer some local flavor.
Wow, a beer brewed with frozen pizza and paper money, what could go wrong??
Originally released in 2015, Big Ass Money Stout clocks in at 17.2 percent ABV and 30 IBUs. Today’s example was released in a 16-ounce can in November 2018 and is finally being freed from my dark and cool cellar today.
Poured from a highly colorful can adorned with pizza slices, the color is a deep, deep brown with a solid finger of creamy brown head that leaves quite rapidly within minutes of the initial pour. Aromas are strong on the nose with big sweet roasty malts, caramel, dark fruits like prunes and raisins and a good helping of molasses. Of note, there is no sign of the frozen pizza or paper money.
The initial taste is cloyingly sweet and malty with essences of milk chocolate, toasted rye bread, leather, raisins and alcohol soaked cherries. The high ABV tends to scramble the flavors slightly and somewhat tears apart the balance of ingredients. Carbonation is very light and I am now having a hard time getting over the insane amount of sugar that is coating my mouth, but I am persevering and still anticipating the flavor of pizza and hopefully not the flavor or taste of old, dirty paper money.
Mouth feel is clingy and I am now afraid that the sugars are going to give me cavities, but I continue my journey. Alcohol content, at over 34 proof, in my opinion is the major factor that is keeping this beer from balancing better or allowing all of the flavors to succeed in being all equal participants in this beer. The finish, is once again very sweet and almost too much to handle as I was only able finish about three-quarters of this beer before having to give up. Unfortunately, I never get the pizza flavor.