Snow squalls, whiteouts, bone chilling temperatures, sub-zero wind chills, you get the picture, or as we call it, winter in Buffalo. It’s the middle of February and everything that comes along with this time of year is indeed here, punching us in the face on a daily basis. Right about now, we all need an escape – something we can sink into in order to escape everything horrible going on outside, so enter Thin Man’s latest imperial stout, Awesome Jenkins, an 11.7% easy-drinker that ticks all of the necessary boxes. It will be released this Saturday, beginning at noon. Crowlers and growler fills will be available to go.
Awesome Jenkins is a draft only release, though Thin Man’s Head Brewer Rudy Watkins says that canning it might become an option in the future. He adds that Jenkins could be a candidate to fill some of the brewery’s recently acquired barrels as well (Bourbon, Rye, Port, Tequila, Scotch, Red Wine).
“Awesome Jenkins is the next in our big ol’ silly 10+% ABV imperial stout series,” he says. “This guy clocks in at 11.7% and has tons of body and mouthfeel, thanks to the addition of flaked oats. Cocoa, nuts and coconut are featured, but aren’t overwhelming. It’s a big, rich, delicious stout to help to get us through the next few months of snow and awesomeness.”
I was treated to a preview of this beer (thanks Rudy!) and quite enjoyed it. Notes of chocolate, oatmeal, subtle booze and nuts. It’s soft and velvety, and just a touch sweet. It’s bigger in ABV than its predecessor Take Precaution (cans still available at the brewery by the by) at 11.7%, but drinks lighter with less roast.
“This is a different beer from Take Precaution, of course. There are a couple of different, significant changes going on. Awesome Jenkins features a whole lot less roast than Take Precaution. They finished with the same level of residual sugar, but we tweaked a few little things on Jenkins and it comes across as more rounded and chocolatey, whereas Take Precaution was more of a roasty, old school style imperial stout. Jenkins has a nice sweetness to it, but it’s not unpleasantly sweet.”
As for the name, Awesome Jenkins is the result of Watkins and his team just having some fun. Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that why we are all so hopelessly devoted to craft beer – to have fun? AS the old saying goes, ‘if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.’
“The name, it’s just nonsense, but it is certainly fun to say. And I think that is really the ultimate goal for a beer name – have it be fun to say and have it be something that people want to say themselves. And anytime we can have a nonsense factor involved, I’m all for it.”
In the future, Thin Man will be releasing several variants of Awesome Jenkins, including Peanut Butter, Brownie (“it’s basically cocoa nibbed to hell,” Watkins says) and Coconut, plus a few others, according to Watkins. These versions should be available over the course of the next few weeks.
Watkins encapsulated this beer up in one perfect phrase – “Awesome Jenkins is the result of us just playing around and making a big stout.” Now it’s your turn to join in on the fun with a pour of Awesome Jenkins.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, 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), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.