Ground Breaker’s Imperial Darkness
Imperial Darkness…With An Imperial Buzz
The Imperial Darkness is the darkest ale ever brewed by Ground Breaker. This seasonal dark ale is brewed with dark roasted chestnuts and lentils, cocoa nibs, coffee, and vanilla. If you were a stout drinker before going gluten free…well…I don’t know how else to say it. You’re going to want to get your hands on this beer.
The 2017 Taste Test
The Imperial Darkness is still the darkest, richest gluten free stout I have ever had. You can see no light through it. Black as night. It forms a thin head as I pour, which sticks around and leaves you with that classic beer mustache as you sip. Love that. I’m so happy it’s stout season.
This Ground Breaker seasonal was one of my absolute favorites last year, and this year…it’s even better. The richness of the vanilla blends deliciously with the bitterness of the coffee and cocoa nibs. The body is creamy and thick. I’m really enjoying the complexity of the flavor profile in this year’s pour.
Now that I’m re-reading my 2016 review of the Imperial Darkness, I’m realizing I had an identical reaction this year. (see below, haha) Delighted shock and awe…to sum it up.
My glutenous go-to stout used to be the Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout, brewed out of Eugene. This Imperial Darkness is the best stout I’ve had since my Oakshire days…which was 7 years ago now.
This stout is brewed with dark roasted chestnuts and lentils. I remember the head brewer at Ground Breaker explaining to me the different roast levels for different beer styles. He had told me that for the Dark Ale they roast the lentils until they resemble little chocolate chips. I wonder how long they roast them for the Darkness…
I am a huge fan of the rich earthy quality that the chestnuts and lentils add to the brews. I also really like what it does for the body of Ground Breaker’s beers. By the way…the glass is now half empty and still has a healthy layer of micro bubbles floating at the surface.
Go out and find this beer before it’s too late!
The 2016 Taste Test
This beer pours very–very dark. It’s blackish brown hue is completely opaque. (At least in the crappy light of my kitchen, it is.) It foams softly as it sits next to my computer, leaving itty bitty bubbles thinly covering the surface, but overall–the carbonation appears to be quite light based on the pour.
It smells like rich chocolaty-coffee…perhaps one of my favorite smells ever. The sweet and bitter scent has me salivating for more. I should have recorded my first taste on video. It would be easier to describe that way. But it went something like this…
“OOOHhhhhhhh MMyyyyyyy [profanity removed] Gaaaawwwwddddd!”
I feel like I’m drinking a bar of espresso-laced dark chocolate. It’s incredible. The body is H.E.A.V.Y. The taste is full and rich. The bitter is so well balanced with the sweet. Are you a coffee drinker? Well, if you are…this beer tastes like a well-made Snickers mocha. In the best possible way.
This beer has a 9% ABV—so it is no casual day-drinker. In fact, it feels like straight-up dessert. It’s just now occurring to me that perhaps I should have invited a friend to enjoy this enormous 9% beer with me. (Haha!…Oh well, more for me!)
The coffee is sourced from Equal Exchange, a provider of high quality, Organic, fair-trade coffee and chocolates. There are both Willamette and Nugget hops in this brew, giving it an IBU of 62.
This stout-like dark ale is the fullest gluten free beer I’ve ever tasted to this day. I didn’t know it was possible to brew a GF beer that was this heavy. Now…if heavy-hoppy-bitter beers aren’t your thing…you’ll want to take a pass on this one. But you’d be missing out big time. Needless to say…you’re going to want to get your hands on this ale. Its an offering that makes me forget I’m gluten free. Seriously.
Now…I better go eat dinner before this Imperial Darkness gives me an Imperial Buzz…