When it is 90+ degrees outside here in Southern California and summer is winding down what type of beer would you reach for as you celebrate the fact that it is Friday? A fruity IPA, a slightly tart saison or maybe a crisp pilsner? What about a winter spiced stout. For some odd reason, I decided to go with a two-year-old can of Golden Road’s Back Home Gingerbread Stout. My curiosity regarding how this beer has held up for a couple of years was too much to ignore so today is the day I finally crack it open.
The beer is brewed with a malt base consisting of 2-Row, Crystal Extra Dark, Chocolate malt, Carafa 3, Roast Barley, Carafoam and Rolled Oats with hop additions of Bravo and Northern Brewer. Ginger—both whole and ground—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and vanilla are all added to this 8.5 percent ABV stout which was packaged in a 16-ounce can.
The beer pours a muddy dark brown with a thin khaki head reminiscent of cola that dissipates pretty quickly. The first whiff of the beer brings exactly what you would expect from the name. Gingerbread cookie is the predominant aroma with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and obviously ginger. There is a touch of sweetness on the nose that brings to mind brown sugar, toffee and vanilla. Not much else going on in the bouquet other than liquid gingerbread cookie.
I take a few sips of the beer and the gingerbread man is still front and center. It reminds me of stale hard gingersnap cookies with a good amount of spice from the ginger on the finish. The ABV shows up in the finish as well and when combined with the heavy-handed ginger the beer finishes with a surprising amount of heat for an 8.5 percent ABV beer. The base beer is buried in the spices and doesn’t seem to offer much to the experience. The mouthfeel is very thin for the style and the carbonation is a bit heavier than expected as well. As I work my way through the beer it starts to remind me of a winter spiced cola spiked with vodka.