Style: Imperial Stout
- Beer Advocate: 3.92/5
- Untappd: 4.21/5
"Friends who grill bananas together stay together: Monkish, Cloudwater, The Veil, and Other Half came for a visit and together we made a banana-rific beer!
Naturally, when friends have sleepovers and drinks, ideas flow… especially around a roaring fire. What do you roast in your fireplace? Bananas, obviously! And so the idea for Fireplace Bananas was born.
Since bananas add a relatively light flavor, every advanced banana product we could get our hands on (flame grilled, dehydrated chips, puree, dried & ground dried) went into this unique American Stout. The equivalent of 30,000 bananas generated about 25% of the fermentable sugars for this beer. That's about four bananas for every 750ml bottle! A nose of subtle smoke, ripe banana, and a hint of dark cacao lead into a palate of caramelized sugar, banana bread, molasses, and a charred chocolate flavor. Finishes with a rich sweetness and full mouthfeel, underpinned by a subtle bitterness."
This doesn't pour pitch black like a standard imperial stout, but it's actually dark brown and muddy with a finger of tan head.
I've read early reviews of this not being big on the bananas, but the aroma sure as hell has a lot of them. There's also a lot of smoke and char, but it still comes back to overly ripe bananas with lots of sweetness. It kind of smells like a loaf of banana bread.
Again, I don't know why people said this was lacking bananas because even the taste is chock full of them. Don't think of the banana esters of a Hefeweizen, but this is actual banana puree. The bananas taste green and ripe, but the burnt char from the aroma is influential on the palate. I'd say the bananas have a small salty or spicy quality which mixes things up a bit. The imperial stout itself contains classic notes of subtle chocolate and just the smallest amount of black coffee with a lot of roasted malt. The charred bananas in this combined with the roasty malt presence work well together. I mean, it's bananas in a stout, and that's all I can say.
That mouthfeel though is exceptional by all accounts. It is sublimely thick (also the name of my favorite movie), velvety, and smooth. The beer has a fair amount of sweetness, but it isn't sticky or cloying at all. The 10.4% is nowhere to be found.
Fireplace Bananas delivered what it promised. Depending on how much you like bananas will determine your level of love and or hate for this beer. Personally, I enjoyed this one and liked how the several different types of banana products used were distinguishable in the final beer itself. It is going to be an acquired taste for sure, but call me a fan.