Review: The Bruery x Frontaal I've Got Friends Batch #4 Mexican Imperial Stout with Cacao nibs, vanilla and ancho peppers

I picked this one exactly one year ago today (on the day of writing this up) at Wijnhuis Eindhoven in Eindhoven, Netherlands. This sampling is a collaboration between The Bruery out of California and Brouwerij Frontaal in Breda, brewed in Breda. The beer is called I've Got Friends Batch #4 and is a Mexican Imperial Stout with cacao nibs, vanilla, and ancho peppers. It tops out at 13.4% ABV, making it one of the stronger beers I've ever had in my life.

Appearance: Black as the night, so it's a typical stout. The head is beautiful with a rich thickness of a cookie dough yellowish-brown hue to it. Once the beer diminishes a bit, the bubbles stay behind to leave a nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Certainly going to be a Mexican style stout right from the beginning - it's got a faint spicy pepper aroma to it that tickles the nose, followed by cacao nibs that give it a rich sweet chocolatey presence to it, a tad bit of roasted malt to give it a hint of coffee-like notes, caramel and a hint of peat at the end. The spice isn't overly aggressive... yet.

Taste: For my first impression I get a rich, roasted malt profile more than anything else to the point that it reminds me of a Mocha you would get at a reputable coffee shop, but if they also added in a lot of melted chocolate into said Mocha as well. Rich, very creamy, sweet, chocolatey. Then all of a sudden I get a bit of a tingling on the tongue, it's the ancho peppers finally popping up but I'm a bit underwhelmed, I was hoping for heat like in Stone's Xocoveza Stout from years ago.

Overalll Thoughts: The spice is underwhelming but this is still a really good Imperial Stout. I keep forgetting this is 13.4% ABV because it's smoooooth and insanely creamy to the palate, but then it really does start creeping up on you and you start to feel it. Everything I've had by Fronaal and The Bruery have been really good so far, hope to have more of their beers one day!

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