Smokestack Lightening is a 1956 song written by blues master, Howlin’ Wolf. It has been covered by many, many artists over the years. It was a regular part of the Dead’s early repertoire when it was sung by keyboardist Ron McKernan (Pigpen). The name was an obvious choice for Dave for a big, dark stout that also packs some heat from the high ABV. This beer’s color is totally opaque, black and viscous. The aroma is of coffee, prunes and slight chocolate. It tastes very full bodied, rich malty depths and bittersweet chocolate with a roasty finish.
Imperial Stouts are the first beer style to get the term “Imperial” applied. They were first made in England during the 19th century for export to Russia and the Baltic states. Like barleywines, they are rich, warming, cold-weather beers for sipping.
The American innovation has done wonders with this style adding coffee, chocolate and oatmeal flavors and aromas to the creamy roasty attributes inherent in a stout. Barrel aging in whiskey barrels or lots of hops are just some of the variations you can explore. Not necessarily higher in alcohol these beers are all about texture, richness, creaminess and full flavor for an even fuller experience.
- ABV: Medium to high alcohol
- Color: Black
- Glassware: Spiegelau stout glass
- Temperature: 50-55 oF
- Food Pairing: Rich beer with rich food - BBQ plate of spare-ribs, mac 'n cheese and baked beans, chocolate truffles and coffee ice cream