Beer Reviews

Penguin (Blonde Stout)

Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Chief Science Officer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

When sharing some beers out in Yakima Valley this past spring Rhinegeist and Three Weavers Brewing Company (Los Angeles) started riffing on a collaboration beer, settling on a Blonde Stout.

Penguin is a celebration of camaraderie, breaking the mold and the special bonds of friendship. It is 7.0%, 33 IBU Blonde Stout infused with coffee and cacao nibs delivering chocolate, coffee and roasted notes in a mindbendingly blonde beer.

Malts: Maris Otter, Golden Naked Oats and Flaked Oats

Hops: Bravo and Glacier

What’s a Blonde Stout?

A stout that is light in color — there are a few blonde/white stouts available, so naturally, we wanted to hone the rarity of the style and put our Rhinegeist and Three Weavers spin on it.

How does this process differ from a normal stout?

Most stouts use a specialty grain called “Roasted Barley” that is raw, unmalted barley that is roasted to a very dark, nearly black, color. This adds both dark brown/black color to the beer, and also some coffee, nutty and chocolate notes. In large amounts, Roasted Barley can make the beer taste acrid and thin. In Penguin, we do not use any Roasted Barley. Instead, we take a great base of Maris Otter and flaked oats, ferment the wort out, and do a late infusion with coffee and cacao nibs.

Appearance: Dark gold, slightly hazy with a medium off-white head and very good retention.

Smell: Medium nutty malt aroma with medium dark chocolate, coffee and nutty notes. Low earthy hop aroma, low fruity esters.

Taste: A moderate chocolate flavor hits the palate immediately then fades into a moderate level of lightly roasted coffee, nutty, and slightly fruity flavors, medium nutty, but soft malt backbone. Fairly dry finish, with medium-low hop bitterness and low earthy hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Overall: A beer that defies the eyes…it has some roasty, coffee and chocolate notes to it, but is light in color. Easy to drink, not heavy or astringent, just well balanced.

What foods would pair well with Penguin?

Chicken mole, beef tacos or chili.

What’s the ideal glassware for Penguin?

I’d recommend a tulip glass or snifter to concentrate the aromatics.