Monday, March 4, 2013

Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout – Great Divide Brewing Co.

                Great Divide Brewing Co., with their lineup of excellent beers, is a Denver favorite.  They currently release 24 beers with more in the planning stages, five of which are versions of their Yeti Imperial Stout.  For those who enjoy their already exquisitely brewed  Yeti Imperial Stout they also offer the Oak Aged Yeti, the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, the Chocolate Oak AgedYeti, Barrel Aged Yeti (aged in whiskey barrels), and an upcoming secret Yeti project that currently goes by the name TBD Yeti which will be released later this year.  Every Yeti variant has received a positive review from almost everyone who has enjoyed it, so when I had the chance to pick up a couple bottles of Oak Aged Yeti I jumped at the chance.  Before getting to the review though, how about some quick background on Great Divide?

                The story of Great Divide begins with its founder, Brian Dunn.  After graduating from college in the 80s with a degree in Environmental Policy and Management, Brian worked overseas helping to create farms in developing countries.  While overseas he discovered that there was more to beer than the Pale Lagers popular back in the US and was quick to learn more about the excellent, wide range of beers and beer styles that were available.  Returning home after 5 years overseas, Brian started home brewing and went to graduate school.  However, upon graduation in 1993, he determined that brewing was more interesting and set out to start the first non-brewpub microbrewery in Denver.
                In 1993 he did a market study and wrote a business plan.  Utilizing his business plan, Great Divide opened in 1994 with the help of his family, friends and the city of Denver.  It likely helped that Colorado is one of the few states that is even more craft beer friendly than Wisconsin.  Upon opening, Great Divide had two beers, Whitewater Wheat and Arapahoe Amber, unfortunately neither of the two is still in production.  Since 1994, the popularity of Great Divide has grown considerably, along with its critical acclaim, with the brewery winning 17 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and 5 World Beer Cup awards.

                Great Divide moved into their current building, an old dairy processing plant, in 2001.   In 2007,  Great Divide expanded to meet demand, and in 2008 they opened a new production brewery.  Earlier this month Great Divide announced that they are installing another five, 300-barrel fermentation tanks in the middle of the month.

On to the review:

                On Beeradvocate, Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout has a score of 95, with the Bros. giving it a 96.  Over at ratebeer, it has a score of 100 overall and a 99 for style. 

They Say:

                OAK AGED YETI IMPERIAL STOUT is Yeti Imperial Stout’s sophisticated sibling. They may be from the same clan, but they have entirely different personalities. Oak aging gives a subtle vanilla character, rounding out Yeti’s intense roastiness and huge hoppy nature. Who says you can’t tame a Yeti?
ABV: 9.5%

2007 European Beer Star, Nuremberg, Silver Medal, Stout
2007 Australian International Beer Awards, Bronze Medal, Wood-Aged Beers
2008 Australian International Beer Awards, Silver Medal, Wood-Aged Beer
2009 Australian International Beer Awards, Silver Medal, Wood-Aged Beer
2010 BeerAdvocate “Top 100 Beers On Planet Earth,” #29

Grilled flank steak with chimichurri, herb crusted pork tenderloin, roasted asparagus, Cashel blue cheese, pistachio fudge brownies.

I Say:
                Oak Aged Yeti pours opaque black with a moderate, creamy tan head that held excellent retention and left intricate lacing in the glass.  The aroma is complex with dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and oak.  There are definite alcohol notes on the back end that neither fade nor increase as the beer warms.

                It is slightly sweet with flavors of vanilla, cocoa, molasses, oak, and booze.  There is a moderate level of hop bitterness to balance out the massive malt bill.  Oak Aged Yeti is creamy with a slightly sweet finish and a pleasant, soothing alcohol warmth.  It is full-bodied with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.

                This is an excellent beer, the alcohol and oak notes blend wonderfully with the dark malts.  If you can get a hold of a bottle of the Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout or any of the variants pick up as many bottles as the liquor store will allow you to buy.  You will not be disappointed!

                That’s all for today, check back soon for another post.

                Happy Drinking!


  1. Who distributes Great Divide in Wisconsin?

  2. I picked that bottle up in Denver when I was out visiting family. Sadly they do not distribute out here that I know of.