This is my attempt at brewing a clone of Snake River Brewing Company's Zonker Stout. Wish I could compare the two side by side, but, alas, Snake River's beers are not available way out here in New England. Might just have to make another trip out their way!
Snake River Stout
Appearance - Black. Really black. Black hole black. Seriously - no light can penetrate this beer. I held up a flashlight on one side of the glass and I don't think a single photon escaped to the other side. Foamy, tan head that dissipates slowly. Some lacing left behind. Did I mention this beer is really, really black?
Aroma - Smells fantastic. Roasty, as would be expected. Mostly coffee-like with some slight chocolate notes. As it warms up a bit, I get a hint of raisin. Some earthy/spicy hops in the background. The aroma is really what I would expect from a beer like this.
Flavor - Bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Some caramel and raisin notes. There's an acridness that lingers...perhaps a tad too much. I'm not sure the crystal malts are quite enough to cut through the roast and acridity. Firm hop bitterness that combines with the acrid roast and then dissipates, leaving the acridness from the roast behind. This may actually be why the acridity seems too much - you definitely notice it once the hops are gone. Even though this finished at 1.022, I feel like it could use some additional sweetness - or maybe the amount of roast just needs to be dialed back a smidgen. However, as it warms up, the acridness seems to be lessening. In fact, now that the beer has warmed up some, the flavors all seem to work quite nicely together...maybe it needs even less tweaking than I had originally thought!
Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation and body. Not thin, but certainly not too thick either. I think this would be awesome on nitro...or maybe with a little lactose thrown in to give it some creaminess.
Overall - This is a really good beer that could use some tweaking. I'm certainly nit-picking, but next time I would reduce the amount of roasted malts and/or add additional crystal malt. I wish I could get Snake River Brewing Company's beers out this way to compare this to their Zonker Stout. My version is good, but doesn't quite live up to my memory of theirs...though this could also have something to do with the fact that I don't have the glorious Grand Tetons in my backyard!