The craft beer world is littered with releases that are named after or meant to replicate certain flavors, foods or drinks, from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to napoleon ice cream. However, a recent collaboration between Trillium Brewing Co. and J. Wakefield Brewing proved it is possible to replicate at least one flavor combination.
That beer was named Affogato, a 13.3 percent ABV imperial stout brewed with American two-row barley, Crystal 120, flaked oats, black malt, chocolate malt, Munich malt, white wheat malt, brown sugar and dark candied syrup as well as Columbus hops. In addition the stout was also brewed with lactose, vanilla beans and a blend of coffees from both Barrington Coffee Roasting Co. and Mostra Coffee.
As the name suggests, the stout is meant to replicate the flavors of an affogato, which is a beverage/dessert hybrid consisting of cold vanilla gelato covered by hot espresso. In fact, the name affogato literally translates to drowned in Italian. Affogato, the beer, is packaged in 750ml bottles priced at $16.05 each and was released at Trillium on July 25 with a six bottle per person purchase limit.
The Affogato pours thick and black, reminding me of chocolate syrup, with a deep tan head that sticks around for quite a while. Visually, the carbonation seems to be a bit on the low side and aroma from the glass is a combination of strong ground coffee, sweet cream, caramel and a touch of pepper.
The flavors come hot and heavy from the first sip, with a number of flavors vying for the top spot: coffee beans, vanilla sweetness, creamy milk, molasses and dark chocolate. The overall profile reminds me strongly of a Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk, and the bitterness from the overt coffee note really goes a long way to cutting the sweetness that is present. While the palate is full of sweetness and cream, the finish is all coffee until it warms up, when the attributes are reversed, with coffee becoming dominant on the palate and the vanilla/molasses sweetness taking over the finish. The carbonation level is more than adequate for the style and the mouthfeel is both velvety and chewy all at the same time.