Harpoon Czernobog

85 points

rating_excellentLast summer, I had a palate-altering experience when I tasted Harpoon’s Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Czernobog.  I was so impressed by this beer that I penned an open letter to Harpoon imploring them to make this gem a wide-scale release and not just a one-time brewery exclusive.

harpoonczernobogAlas, that request has not been fulfilled by Harpoon.  An utter shame, in my opinion, as the world needs to experience Barrel Aged Czernobog.  I’m not going to suggest this delicious beer could bring about world peace, but maybe….

To somewhat tide us over until the brain trust at Harpoon comes to their senses, the panel decided to taste the non-barrel-aged version of Czernobog — a Russian Imperial Stout that did achieve greatness, but won’t bring about world peace like a maple bourbon barrel aged varietal might.

Appearance was nearly a unanimous 10.  One panelist downgraded the beer a point for…well, God only knows what reason.  Considering his comments, “Nice solid black color, good head stays for awhile, nice lacing,” this panelist praised appearance more than any of the others that rated it a 10.  Sometimes I don’t even think Rick knows what’s going on in his own mind.

Smell was also highly rated with only one member of the panel differing greatly from the rest.  I’m pretty sure you can figure out who that was.  Chocolate was most commonly noted, as well as smoke and cherry.  The Negative Nigel thought the smell wasn’t strong enough to receive high marks.

The mouthfeel of Czernobog was both creamy and syrupy.  The syrupy characteristic left many panelists noted a coating in their mouths after drinking.  That could be why mouthfeel averaged out to be great, but not phenomenal.

Taste also received some very high scores.  Cherry was most predominant, but the panel also noticed scotch and smoke.  The scotch flavor is what led two panelists to lower their taste ratings because they felt the beer was a bit medicinal.  In hindsight, though, that could have been the cherry since the scotch was greatly enjoyed on the aftertaste.  One panelist felt that the aftertaste didn’t linger long enough.

Overall, each panelist could easily see themselves enjoying a glass of Czernobog — whether it be in front of a roaring fire or lounging in a comfy chair.  The only problem was for those on the panel who had enjoyed the barrel-aged version. Czernobog was excellent, but it was no substitute for it’s world class sister incarnation.

The dream still lives on that the  decision makers at Harpoon will realize the error in their ways and release Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Czernobog for the masses.  Until that day comes, though, we’ll just have to make do with an “Excellent” rated  imperial stout…and live like a bunch of savages.

(Appearance 9.8, Smell 9.2, Mouthfeel 4, Taste 21, Aftertaste 16.2, Drinkability 24.8)

Harpoon Czernobog App.
Smell  (10) Mouth. (5) Taste  (25) After.
Drink. (30) Total (100)
Jon 10 10 5 22 19 28 94
Mike 10 9 4 20 14 25 82
Rick 9 7 3 22 16 23 80
Bob 10 10 4 22 16 25 87
Amy 10 10 4 19 16 23 82
Average: 9.8 9.2 4. 21. 16.2 24.8 85.