For those of you that know me, in person or through my reviews, you know that the Pacific Northwest is my favorite beer region in the country. Specifically, the Portland area is my favorite beercation spot and I have been making the drunken pilgrimage annually for the last decade or so. On my first trip to Portland back in the day, I was hunting for bottles to bring home and I came across a bottle of Mother of All Storms from Pelican Brewing. I cracked it open the day I got back with some friends and it immediately became, and still is, one of my favorite beers to date. Every year since that trip I have made Mother of All Storms one of the few big beers I buy by the case.
Fast forward a few years to a few months ago and I got the chance to get my hands on another big barrel-aged beer from Pelican and without hesitation, I bought a whole case. Father of all Tsunamis is an 11.2 percent ABV imperial version of their standard Tsunami stout aged in rye whiskey barrels. I have yet to try it and my fingers are crossed that I didn’t waste a few hundred dollars.
The beer pours jet black but the edges are a slightly transparent cola color when held to the light. The beer has a quarter inch of chocolate milk colored head that sticks around a while and leaves some lacing in the glass. My first whiff of the glass brings an immediate rye whiskey note followed by bitter dark chocolate. As I hunt around in the glass, I get notes of molasses and roasted malt as well. I get virtually no harsh alcohol on the nose but I do get a ton of rye whiskey barrel.
Now for the moment of truth. My first thought as I finish the initial sip is this is the antithesis of the modern-day pastry stout. Bitter roasted malt, cocoa and a ton of rye whiskey. This is a very barrel forward beer and the finish is straight up rye whiskey. Don’t get me wrong, I love rye whiskey and this beer has it in spades. I have become so accustomed to overly sweet pastry stouts that this bitter whiskey bomb took me a few sips to acclimate to. The beer is complex, interesting and no detracting off favors. The flavors all play together quite well and it reminds me of the good old days of craft beer.