In my opinion, Lagunitas Brewing is one of the original craft breweries. Founded in 1993 by Tony Magee in Lagunitas, Calif. before quickly moving to Petaluma, it has become quite the player in the craft beer industry.

Last year, it was ranked as the third best-selling craft brewery in the U.S. Although a lot of its year-round releases have been considered run-of-the-mill, the brewery has progressed and has actually produced some sought-after brews.

Today, I am reviewing one of its limited releases from the One-Hitter Series, Willettized Coffee Stout, a monster of a beer coming in at a hefty 12.6 percent ABV after being aged in barrels that previously held Willet Rye whiskey.

Other releases in the One-Hitter series have included other favorites as Dark Swan Sour, Eroica, Waldo’s Special Ale and Born Yesterday Pale Ale.

As I pour the coffee stout, I see a deep dark, almost black, color with light tinges of dark brown along the edges where the light tries to penetrate. There is a light head of off-white foam and I am excited to delve deeper into this concoction.

The aromas hit hard with big bourbon and a light back of coffee. Taste is similar but adds caramel, bittersweet chocolate, a creamy taste and a touch of white pepper. The carbonation is good, almost too good and the mouth feel is medium to full-bodied. As the Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout warms, more and more bourbon becomes prevalent. The finish has more caramel, lots of bourbon, more pepper and a sweet char at the end.

Lagunitas Willettized Coffee Stout
BREWERY: Lagunitas Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Petaluma, Calif.
STYLE: Coffee Stout
ABV: 12.6 percent
IBU: 32
PRICE: $3.75
RELEASE DATE: 2017
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
One of the better releases from Lagunitas, but unfortunately I feel breweries are spending too much time in the barrel. While the bourbon and/or rye feel is nice, the extended time in the barrel sometimes takes away from the actual beer nuances. This is a very nice beer, balanced quite well, but a beer that continues to fight for the proper balance because of the huge barrel presence.
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