1/19/20: Perennial Artisan Ales' 17

10:51 AM

This is the first day in 2020 that actually feels like winter. It's seventeen degrees (which is pretty coincidental given today's beer) and it's been snowing off and on. Michelle and I have a fire roaring in our stove as a way to stave off the cold.

I feel secure in breaking into Perennial's 17 on a day like this. The beer was a Christmas gift from my folks, and I'm sure it'll be especially good on a day like today, which calls for a strong stout. Let's see if I'm correct in that assertion.

Before getting into the beer itself, let's take a moment to talk about Perennial. Based in St. Louis, MO since its founding in 2011, Perennial Artisan Ales makes small-batch beer with fine ingredients. Boasting a substantial barrel program, the brewery focuses on well-balanced Belgian- and American craft-inspired beer. If you want to know more about the people behind today's brew, head on over to their "Our Story" page.

17, as listed on Perennial's "Our Beers" page, "...is perfect for the last cold months of the winter." Clocking in at 10% ABV, its brewed with cacao nibs, mint leaves, and copious amounts of chocolate malt. I should probably note here that the date on my bottle is 3/15/17, meaning that it's (hopefully) nicely aged and definitely won't be a 1:1 of what a fresh bottle will taste like should you pick one up.

Chocolate is the boldest note on the stout's nose, rich and deep. There's a small smack of minty freshness to be found here, as well as something extra: a bourbon-like quality that, I'm betting, is attributable to a mixture of the time the beer's spent in the bottle and the high alcohol content. Overall, this is an impressive bouquet, and Purrl agrees with me; she gave my bottle twelve whiffs.

That bourbon quality I picked up on is bigger here in 17's flavor profile, shining through with a sweet, barrel-aged quality (yep, that definitely comes from the stout being nearly three years old), showcasing some vanilla oakiness that comes purely from the aging. Apart from that, I find chocolate and mint (which isn't as sharp as I'd expected) lingering long in the finish, with just a slight hint of booziness, although this isn't as strong as I might've thought it'd be.

This has more of a bite in it's mouthfeel than it should, especially considering the beer's age (carbonation typically dissipates over time as the beer continues to mellow). I have no idea how this would be in a fresh 17, but the small bite here adds a little zing to the stout's robustness.

Last year during one of the polar vortices we got, I figured I'd make life a little easier for Pippy. The snow was nearly half-a-foot deep and Pip was only about a foot tall. The stuff was hard and icy and I didn't think she'd want to trudge through it each time we let her out. So, after shoveling the drive one frigid morning, I ventured into the yard to clear a nice winding path for her to use.

Would you believe that she decided it was more fun to trudge through the hard-packed, icy snow in those sub-zero temperatures than use the pathway I shoveled for her? To the very end, our old lovey girl was stubborn to the core. She confused the hell out of me sometimes, but I loved her through and through. Thanks to 17 for helping me to recall a great memory of our great little doggy.

I had no idea what to expect from this stout (apart from the stuff spelled out on the bottle) before going into it, but I've come away incredibly impressed. While I don't know what you'd find if you grabbed it fresh, my bottle's been aged to perfection. I'm giving this nearly-three-year-old Perennial 17 a 10/10. It's a great beer and a fantastic Christmas gift. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

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