Samuel Adams Merry Mischief Gingerbread Stout
I’ll be honest, I had some serious reservations about this bottle of Samuel Adams Merry Mischief Gingerbread Stout as I placed it into the shopping cart back in December. I mean, I love stouts (as noted ad nauseum throughout this site), but this one was crafted with ginger and spices and stuff. My palate usually doesn’t take well to overly spiced beers no matter how much I may adore the style or the brewer who made it.
The Boston Beer Company, the makers of this 9% ABV Imperial Stout, have their Holiday-themed bases covered with a blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. My only hope was that the roasted malt end of the stout wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the mélange of spiced. Unfortunately, for myself at least, the spices are a bit too mischievous for their own good.
Merry Mischief pours an opaque black with a dark tan and creamy cap of foam.
A ton of ginger and backing spices (clove, cinnamon) fill the nose immediately. There is a distant bit of roasted malt in the background along with a hint of chocolate, but mostly the ginger dominates.
The ginger and spice blend are certainly in the mix as they take center stage but not to the degree that the nose lead me to believe. They definitely make up the primary flavor components of this full-bodied beer, but are not the nightmare that I had envisioned in my head. A subtle roast, chocolate and late hop notes provide backing vocals for this merry blend of spices that linger for a good long while in the semi-dry finish. The higher alcohol content is masked well and only shows through a touch as the beer has had an opportunity to warm in the glass.
This is an interesting beer to say the least. I’d personally like more stout and less spices. I mean, it’s a stout, right? Let its character speak for itself and the adjuncts (in this case ginger and spices) accentuate those flavors, not dominate them. That all said, it wasn’t as horribly over-spices as I had feared, but one bottle is probably enough for me.