Finally tackling another winter seasonal in Sixpoint's Diesel stout. It's honestly been a long time coming for someone to name a stout that and I'm glad it's a talented and special brewery like Sixpoint. This is touted as a stout but knowing SP they will probably do something special and out-of-the-ordinary here. The back of the can claims the beer was dry-hopped with fresh hops, which seems an unusual claim for a stout, so already I'm pretty intrigued!
Managed to pour the whole 16-ounce can at once, as a frothy brown head foamed up lightly on top of this deep, black, viscous beer. This is one of the darkest beers I've poured in recent memory; even held up to light there is only a deep-ruby hue vaguely shining through on the bottom and edges of the glass. Intense. First scent is definitely hops, which is interesting. SP tends to do very hoppy versions of each style, however, so I'm not put off by it at all. If anything, the pine and spruce scents work better with the roasted, charred malt backbone than they would in many other beer styles. Chocolate malts are definitely at the forefront of the grist bill according to the nose but the rest is swathed in fresh, hoppy goodness. There's a bit of a citric scent too, as well as a light kiss of espresso to even everything out and remind you that this is a stout you're smelling. With my first sip, I'm even more impressed; the balance here is surprisingly great with a big, full-bodied charcoal-like malt background dueling pleasantly with resinous hops. I almost think the hop presence would be strong enough to cross this over into black IPA territory if only the mouthfeel weren't so creamy and, well, stout-like. I guess it wouldn't be unfair to compare it to a hoppier porter, with the pronounced nuttiness and creamy smoothness racking up big-time flavor points. Earthy hops punch through the West Coast style bitterness towards the last part of the finish on the palate, as well, providing some perspective to the astringent-leaning hop profile found elsewhere. This is a very tasty brew and, though I've found that cans may contain treasures thanks to many American craft breweries specializing in the aluminum beauties, I can see many a stout-lover being convinced of that fact by this beer.
The lacing as this drinks is truly stout-like, with tiers of nitro-tap-esque foam forming thinly as the beer disappears. Halfway through, it starts to warm up and I begin to detect some more complex flavors; the yeast begins to become apparent and its dry, nutty flavor compounds with the malt profile to bring out a lot more "roast" than "char" and seems to mellow the malt flavor out a bit. Initially, I feel like this was biased towards the hops but allowing the beer to warm a bit helps it achieve even further balance, so much so that it kind of becomes an entirely different beer. This is definitely one to drink over the course of 30-40 minutes so you can check out that change as well. Kudos to Sixpoint for making yet another interesting beer that challenges style definitions flagrantly and tastes great while doing it! I think this should be a year-round brew for Sixpoint; it belongs in their regular rotation, without a doubt.
The official breakdown:
- Style: American Stout
- ABV: 6.3%
- Appearance: Very, very dark brown/black with highly-retentive yet slightly small head, even with a full pour. Lacing is excellently-tiered
- Scent: Chocolate malt, blackened coffee beans, astringent pine hops, light spruce bark, bitter and resinous, some orange and various citrus here and there
- Taste: Incessant in its delivery of roasted and charred malts supported by a complex and varied hop profile. Satisfying, to say the least
- Mouthfeel: Fairly full-bodied but can seem watery and even too hoppy, especially when it's colder so I'd let this sit after a long refrigerated period
- Drinkability: Excellent; the dry-hop lends some astringency but it's so well-tempered by the malt bill that it finishes quite smooth