To celebrate the third anniversary of Finland’s largest Facebook group for beer enthusiasts, they had the group members vote for their favorite set of seasonings for their upcoming Imperial Stout, which they then brewed with CoolHead. They made a NEIPA in this fashion last spring or summer, too, and it turned out quite well, so I’m excited to dive into this treat.
My little experience with CoolHead’s darker beers has not been the best, but they’ve nailed so many other beers and remain one of the top breweries in Finland, so I am open-minded to keep trying their brews.
Strongs notes of cacao upon pouring the beer. Pecan pie, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate cake are also starring in this pastry stout’s aroma. Unsurprisingly for a 12% ABV beer, there’s a nostril-burning sense of alcohol when sniffing the drink a bit too long.
Amongst all the delicious aromas, that make me drool on my Waahto Brewery t-shirt, there’s one that turns me off. This metallic aroma. This is not the first dark beer I’ve tasted from Coolhead that has this, and it makes me wonder if it’s just my sense of smell going nuts (pun intended) or if the guys at CoolHead are actually having some issues with the quality of their beers. I remember them having some issues with their Haziness NEIPA, one of the first trendsetters of its style in Finland, too, but that was years ago.
The mouthfeel is smooth and soft, almost fluffy. Carbonation is low, but noticeable. Semi-thick body, like those liquid vitamin substances they feed you as a kid.
Upon tasting the beer, the tongue senses sweetness immediately, perhaps from the maple syrup. Bitter dark chocolate quickly appears but is often ruined by the slightly metallic taste that the aroma already warned me about. After swallowing, a pleasant taste of dark cacao and pecan nuts slowly start building up for the aftertaste, which is relatively long and enjoyable, despite some of the off-flavors on the way. Sweet maple syrup somewhere in the middle and the end.
Review & Comments
CoolHead didn’t make a bad beer this time either. Smooth Moderator was overall a pleasant drinking experience.
However, the metallic off-flavors were uncalled for and immediately dropped my rating. When a beer, that you’d otherwise enjoy, makes you wince on the first sniff, it’s not a good sign. Though I like to remain optimistic despite rough beginnings, this time the overall performance suffered throughout.