It’s that time of year again – the leaves are changing, the days are shorter, nights are longer, the temperature outside have dropped and the beer in your glass has gotten darker – which could only mean one thing – it’s time for Stoutsgiving, Big Ditch Brewing’s annual celebration of all things dark beer, a time in which they roll out the barrels to showcase the depth, complexity and versatility of stout.
Known for its robust flavors, velvety texture, and dark, almost opaque appearance, stouts have carved out a special place in the hearts of beer enthusiasts. Stouts are characterized by their deep, dark color, which ranges from deep brown to black. Flavors are diverse, offering a rich tapestry of tastes that can include notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, and even hints of smoke.
This year, there will be nine new beers plus one vintage beer, all of which will be available in draft, and several in bottles or crowlers to go.
The lineup for 2023:
- Bourbon Barrel Aged Aqueduct Imperial Stout 2023 – Aqueduct was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels just long enough to marry roast and chocolate flavors from the base beer with vanilla and toasted flavors from the bourbon barrels. 10.5% ABV. (Draft, 500 mL bottles)
- Aqueduct Rare 2023 – This Rare version of Aqueduct was aged in a single 15-year 1792 bourbon barrel for a year before bottling by hand. The result provides an even stronger bourbon and oak finish to our rich and roasty stout. 10.5% ABV. (Draft, 500 mL bottles)
- Aqueduct Double Barrel 2023 – This Double Barreled version of their bourbon barrel aged imperial stout was aged first in a Hartman’s Distilling bourbon barrel before being transferred to a barrel previously holding maple syrup. It’ then blended with maple syrup to provide additional sweetness and complexity to our rich and roasty stout. 10.5% ABV. (Draft, 500 mL bottles(
- Aqueduct Rum 2023 – This version of their imperial stout was aged in a rum barrel to add a caramelized sugar finish to the rich and roasty stout. 10.5% ABV. (Draft, 500 mL bottles)
- The Tower Barleywine 2023 – This beer was aged in a Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey barrel; subtle rye spice, toffee and honey. 11.4% ABV. (Draft, 500 mL bottles)
- Mudlarked Imperial Stout with Rocky Road – Brewed with 9 different malts, milk sugar, cocoa nibs, and flavored with marshmallow, vanilla, and almonds, this beer is as thick as mud. 10.0% ABV. (Draft, crowlers only)
- Mudlarked Imperial Stout with Pecan Pie – The same rich Mudlarked stout base with pecans and toffee added. 10.0% ABV. (Draft, crowlers only)
- Peanut Butter Cookie Stout – A roasty, creamy milk stout brewed with peanut butter and vanilla wafer cookies. 6.0% ABV. (Draft, crowlers only)
- Mele Kaliki-Mocha – A “Hawaiian” blonde stout brewed with cocoa, coffee, and coconut. 6.3% ABV. (Draft, crowlers only)
- Aqueduct Port – 2022 Aqueduct aged in a Port wine barrel, lending complex flavors of currant, plum, and toasted oak to the dark chocolate character of the base beer. 10.9% ABV. (Draft, crowlers only)
Stouts are incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings as well. The deep, roasted flavors complement a variety of dishes, including Big Ditch’s Breuben, which would be my recommendation if you’re planning on getting food at Stoutsgiving, which you should. It pairs perfectly with a flight of stouts in my opinion, something I’ve done personally at a number of Stoutsgiving’s in years past.
Can’t make it out to Big Ditch to celebrate Stoutsgiving in person? All packaged selections will be available for preorder beginning the morning of Wednesday, November 22 for pickup by clicking here.
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).