Guest Review: Edmund Fitzgerald

Name: Edmund Fitzgerald
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Cleveland, OH
Style: American Porter
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.8%

If you’ve read my bio on here, you know that this was the beer that got me into craft beer. Look a little closely at the brewery (Great Lakes). The new BeerAdvocate Beers of Fame list has 9 of their beers – Edmund Fitzgerald, Blackout Stout, Eliot Ness, Dortmunder Gold, Nosferatu, Oktoberfest, Burning River PA, Commodore Perry IPA and Christmas Ale. In Ohio, they are it. They just kill every style they make. Now they don’t really ever branch out all that much. The weirdest I’ve had from them was a Smoked Pale Ale (which is damn fantastic), Raspberry Dark Chocolate Porter (best beer they make), and lemon grass/cardamom Wit. They even did a beer to poke fun at LeBron James. When he departed they brewed the Quitness (a beer so bitter it will help you forget). They also only put it on tap when the Heat were in town.

The impressive thing about them is that they only barrel age one beer. Yes you read that right. One. They age their Blackout Stout in bourbon barrels yearly. I have no idea what they do with those barrels because no other beer they do BA. I love that. They do what they do, and they do it world class well. So here is a review of the number 37 beer in the world according to BeerAdvocate:

In the Glass: Deep, deep brown to black. The brown only shows up when help up to a light. A frothy light caramel colored head floats there leaving great lacing.

Nose: I’ve loved how this beer has smelled for around four years. The signature grainy Great Lakes malt bill only adds a touch of grain and spice to the huge notes of dark chocolate and low-acidity coffee. Powdered baking cocoa comes out too. I almost get some dry, woody oak, but that would be insanity. Great Lakes only uses barrels once (BA Blackout).

Mouthfeel: Its almost nutty. It’s like if you added bittersweet baking cocoa to the coffee grounds in your coffee pot (P.S. do that sometime with some cinnamon too – makes one wicked cup of coffee). Powdery chocolate and black smooth coffee dominate. Very light bodied and smooth. Somehow all of those bitter flavors are smoothed out with a slightly sweet grainy flavor.

Aftertaste: Why does it finish like a hazelnut latte? Those nutty flavors are there, then I’m getting a creamy feeling (probably my palate perceiving the grainy body as creaminess) that makes it feel like a latte. Once that fades, its all semi-sweet chocolate.

Rating: 5/5

Final Thoughts: I can sum this beer up with one sentence: How does this beer still amaze me after four years?

I honestly entered that as a comment on a checkin on Untappd a few days ago. Its so deep, so complex, yet so easy to drink. I used to think they needed to do a second run of barrel aging with this, but not anymore. Leave those delicate, yet assertive cocoa and coffee flavors alone.

Well kiddos, Johnny Cash is serenading me, and I have to be up to take my kids on a field trip to a farm tomorrow at 6:00 AM. Enjoy a beer, and drink local!

Happy American Craft Beer Week!

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