Dogfish Head Brewing World Wide Stout

December 15, 2010

I’m about to go traveling the big blue marble called Earth a bit. I won’t be gone too long. But, brother, it’s cold out there! Winter has us in her frigid grasp and I require a traveling companion to ward off the chills and warm my bones.

Unfortunately I’m not talking about the curvy, two-legged variety with the sparkling eyes. No, in this case it’s my old friend beer. The massive World Wide Stout to be exact.

Perhaps you’ve heard about Dogfish Head recently. Discovery Channel has a show about their brewery airing every Sunday. It follows founder Sam Calagione around his brewery and around the world on his travels to find the best beer available. It’s a wonderful program that shows us at home how beer is made and where the inspiration comes from to think outside the box and come up with something very special.

This is the company that strives to provide ales no one else is even half-gutsy enough to attempt. Oddball ingredients include Brazilian Palo Santo wood, pinot noir wine, tamarillo, brown sugar, Muscat grapes, saffron and Chrysanthemum flowers. Even when they keep things relatively simple, they still go big.

World Wide Stout is more akin to a rich port wine than it is to a beer. Dogfish is a little hush-hush on the exact amount of barley used to make this monster. Suffice it to say it’s a lot. The extra supply of roasted grain provides lots of sugar for the yeast to convert into alcohol. World Wide clocks in just a few percentage points shy of its cousin, the 120 Minute IPA, at a mere 18% alcohol by volume. To say that it’s rich and suggest sipping, not chugging, are understatements in the extreme.

To quote Jagger, this beer is “black as night… black as coal.” WW isn’t big on the carbonation thing. Any initial head on this beer scrams quickly. Pour one into a balloon glass or snifter and get a load of the cherry, bourbon, molasses and rum cake aromas. Its thick and slippery texture delivers flavors of dark chocolate, bruleed sugar, figs and raisins. That big dark color may be misleading… this beer has no bitterness, only dessert-like sweetness. Sip it slow and enjoy the show.

Oh, and Hopjacks has this on tap now. It’s really rare to find this stout in anything but a bottle. For example, BeerAdvocate.com’s reader reviews list 1,040 tried in bottle and only 68 reviews submitted from tap pours. Better get back from my traveling quick!