Clown Shoes Hammer of the Beast
I’m a big fan of stouts and barleywines. Hell, I’ll even go for a nice blend of the two. Rum, however, isn’t one of my favorite flavors when involved with beer. That said there have been some pretty good examples of the liquidy goodness aged in barrels that have previously held the spirit. Clown Shoes’ Hammer of the Beast is a well balanced blend of the brewery’s Undead Party Crasher (imperial stout), Billionaire (barleywine), and Blaecorn Unidragon (Russian imperial stout) that has then been aged in said barrels.
With two-thirds of this blend comprised of big stouts, the flavor profile for Hammer of the Best is predictably stoutish with big notes of espresso, a solid roast, cocoa and anise. Billinaire offers up a good bit of pine and caramel for its roll in the combination. Toss in that barrel aging and you’ve got a 12% ABV brew that also adds old wood, rum and molasses to the dynamic and layered experience.
I enjoyed this particular blend. The rum actually works pretty well here, though I would personally prefer if it had taken a bit of a step into the background, but the barrel influence isn’t really much to complain about. Hammer of the Beast’s fullness and alcohol (and a moderate sweetness) firmly set this beer in the “sipping” category which made it perfect for a mid-December afternoon. Rich and layered, the beer presents a solid blend of flavors without any one beer overstepping its bounds.
Hammer of the Beast pours quite stout like in appearance black as an abyss and capped with a dense head of brown foam. The foam falls fairly quickly to a thin ring around the surface.