A while back I posted a less than kind review of a Big Bay Brewing release, but every brewery deserves a second chance, so when I noticed bombers of Angry Molly on the shelf at my local store I figured it would be a good time to give Big Bay another shot. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this beer given my previous Big Bay experience, but I’m a sucker for Imperial Stouts during the winter.
Big Bay brewing currently contract brews out of the House of Brews in Madison, a chance since the last time I wrote up one of their beers. Page Buchanan at House of Brews is a great guy and a wonderful addition to the Wisconsin craft beer scene. By opening his brewery up to contract brewing he, like other Wisconsin contract breweries, allows aspiring brewers the chance to effectively rent his equipment to brew their beers. Opening a new brewery is a capital intensive move and contract breweries allow new brewers to enter the industry without the upfront capital usually required. Some people like to bash beers that are contract brewed, but all it means is that more aspiring brewers can push out more beer more quickly. Everyone gets their start somewhere, and contract breweries allow us, the beer drinkers, to get to try as many new beers as possible. Heck, even the Boston Beer Co. used to rely on contract brewers and Miller Brewing still does, at least for one of their product lines.
Unfortunately the information readily available on Big Bay Brewing is still limited, and aside from a periodically active twitter feed, the brewery has gone dark. Dear Big Bay, please update your website to keep up with your new releases. How else is someone who does not follow your twitter feed supposed to keep up with your new releases like Angry Molly?
Since I don’t have much more to offer on Big Bay Brewing, let’s move on to the review.
The Russians tangle with the Irish in this hybrid Imperial Stout. Its brew and name take inspiration from a certain feisty lass, at once sweet with a deep, pitter complexity. You’ll find notes of chocolate, coffee and toasted caramel that marry perfectly with white wheat and flaked out textures, giving her a soft, velvety demeanor.
Angry Molly pours a deep, opaque black with a moderately thick, creamy tan head that holds excellent retention (5-10 min) before fading to a thick collar around the edges of the glass. The collar leaves moderate lacing behind in the glass, which is a great sign. Milk and dark chocolate lead in the aroma, followed but a hint of medium roast coffee. Caramelized sugar and a slightly sweet alcohol bring up the back end. This is definitely a great smelling imperial stout.
Baker’s chocolate, and dark caramel take the lead in the flavor. Medium roast coffee and slight notes of roasted barley blend into dark and milk chocolate with a hint of vanilla on in the middle. The finish has a slight latte character with notes of coffee and vanilla lingering into the aftertaste. As Angry Molly warms to room temperature the smoothness fades and a very slight roasted barley astringency becomes apparent, although your glass will probably be empty before the astringency is apparent. Angry Molly has a wonderfully full maltiness with a moderate level of hop bitterness to balance out the sweetness of the malts, and there is pleasing alcohol warmth that hints at Molly’s 9% ABV. With a medium body and a moderate level of carbonation, Angry Molly is very drinkable; and quite enjoyable.
I am glad that I picked up a bottle of Angry Molly when I saw it on the shelf at my local store. Every brewery deserves a second chance, and this beer goes a long way towards redeeming Big Bay Brewing in my mind. Angry Molly is an excellent hybrid of a Russian Imperial and an Irish Dry Stout, and a very good Imperial Stout is always appreciated this time of year. As good as it is, I can’t help but wonder how much more impressive it would be if it was barrel aged. Perhaps there is a barrel or two filled with Angry Molly right now… I sure hope so.
That’s all for today, check back soon for another review!
Happy Drinking, and remember to always Drink Wisconsinbly!