First, start with the 9.2% Oatmeal Chocolate Stout from Stone brewing.
This beer was…OK. The oatmeal seemed to smooth it out and keep it from getting too bitter, but other flavors didn’t come through very strongly either. All in all, it was alright, but I have yet to be convinced by a Stone brewing beer. I don’t know why, but they just seem to be OK, instead of awesome, and they charge for awesome.
What was a great surprise, however, was Anderson Valley’s Brother David’s Triple. This beer had some carmely notes, but wasn’t nearly as sweet as most Belgain beers I have of this style. On top of that, there was an oh so gentle sour finish. It took me a few sips to even notice that it didn’t finish sweetly, but the beer felt so balanced that I have to admire the skill it took to pull this off.
Oh, and it was 10%, so at this point it was either advisable to start drinking more, or not at all. I chose the better part of valor and stopped drinking, but it made for a long bus ride home. It’s really really good though, so I might have to go back and have another glass today. Just saying.