Lawson’s Finest Fayston Maple Imperial Stout
We’re of the opinion that real maple syrup (meaning the natural, kinda runny stuff) is one of the greatest substances known to mankind. Lawson’s uses two gallons per barrel of the stuff to make its beloved Fayston Maple Imperial Stout. The rum barrel-aged version adds flavors of baked apple skin, vanilla beans and funky cane sugar to the maple-rich base before smooth dark chocolate and smoked raisins dry out the swallow. Also keep an eye out for the brewery’s Maple Tripple, a 2016 World Beer Cup silver medalist made with maple sap and aged in oak barrels that once held maple liqueur.
Sweet black cherries roll down a slide of vanilla and green oak into a pool of maple syrup and orange juice in the aroma of this 8% cherry ale aged in barrels that were used to age bourbon and maple syrup; it almost comes across like a fruitier, less bourbony old fashioned. Sips are tangy up front, though the tart cherries quickly give way to soft notes of vanilla and toasted coconut. The sweet/tart swallow flashes with even more bright red cherries before a finish of baked apple, warm maple syrup and vanilla beans.
RaR Barrel-Aged 1st Meal
The barrel-aged version of RaR’s breakfast stout brewed with cacao nibs, coffee, Vermont maple syrup and smoked malts does not mess around: Maple and moist brown sugar are all over the aroma. Sweet almond milk leads the sip, with syrup and marzipan arriving soon after. Blackberry-accented coffee and hints of chocolate-covered raisin and marshmallow appear at the finish. Though it certainly leans sweet, soft, bacony smokiness does an admirable job tempering the sugars.
Wicked Weed French Toast Imperial Stout
Despite additions of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup, this 8.8% imperial stout avoids intense sweetness. In fact, it’s quite dry and even a little smoky, with flavors of bittersweet chocolate and spicy sarsaparilla shifting to caramel and raisin midpalate. A lift of vanilla and maple syrup right at the swallow subsides slowly as the creamy, chewy body slides off the tongue, and lingering smokiness makes each sip like a bite of a bacon waffle sandwich.
Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
Maple Long Johns, bacon strips, marshmallow lattes, nutty coffee and toast combine in the nose of this porter from Floridian adjunct masters Funky Buddha, while a sip adds in smoke and peanutty roasted malts. The soft, dry finish is both surprising and welcome, making the 6.4% ale as drinkable at the start of your day as at the end of it.
Dogfish Head Beer For Breakfast
Originally a tricked-out version of Dogfish’s classic Chicory Stout available only on draft, Beer for Breakfast was called up to bottles in January. Guatemalan cold-brew coffee, Massachusetts maple syrup and spiced scrapple—that’s pig scraps—combine for a surprisingly dry flavor melding raisins, maple, dark chocolate and next-morning coffee grounds. The finish is where you get the meat and smoke; it’s like a log of burnt alder wood with a slice of spam on top.
Night Shift Bennington
Bennington’s aroma of smooth maple, oatmeal, lactose and pancake batter would be overwhelmingly sugary if not for smoothing cocoa powder notes courtesy of Dutch cocoa. It’s much more balanced on the tongue, where maple syrup and chocolate-covered raisins arrive in tandem while oats and lactose smooth out the edges. The maple is low and woody—thankfully avoiding a supersweet Mrs. Butterworth quality—and the swallow dries out dramatically, with burnt toast and high-percentage cacao lingering through the roasty finish.
Goose Island Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout
Along with the deluge of bourbon-aged stout the brewery now sends out of its Chicago brewery each year, Goose Island also releases a special version of BCS just for its home market, with the recipe changing annually. Proprietor’s 2016 was aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels and infused with chipotle peppers and cocoa nibs, and it was … divisive. Mainly because the peppers were powerful contributors to the flavor, adding roasted vegetable notes and a red pepper flake heat that accented rich cocoa qualities like creamy, sticky mole.
Second Self Manic Pixie Dream #1
Atlanta-based Second Self brews this imperial stout with oatmeal and coffee, then ages it in maple syrup bourbon barrels from funky food producer BLiS Gourmet for a flavor that shifts mischievously between espresso grounds, cocoa-dusted pomegranate, vanilla and natural maple syrup before a spicy coffee-and-cola finish. This is but the first in a series, and more Manic Pixie Dreams are to come, the brewery says, “in extremely limited quantities and only when a recipe is particularly outstanding and worthy of the name."
The Bruery The Grade
Maple syrup and fenugreek deliver a gigantic maple character to the aroma of this 7.6% ABV Baltic porter, and it's of the variety you're probably most familiar with: Log Cabin. Let it sit and the aroma leans sweet, with milk chocolate and moist Mounds bars leading the charge. A swirl brings out black licorice, barbecued meat and the more vegetal aspects of the fenugreek. Grape jelly, toasted coconut and maple syrup emerge on the sweet sip, while the swallow finds the fenugreek and hints of peppercorn, celery and fennel before a smooth, pleasant dark chocolate ashiness settles in between sips.
Manayunk French Toast Crunch Porter
This spinoff of Manayunk’s popular Crunch porter exchanges that beer’s peanut butter infusion for cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. The latter is far and away the most noticeable of the three additives, contributing low-sugar maple and maple wood flavors to accent bittersweet chocolate chips and burnt toast.
Mikerphone Smells Like Bean Spirit
Both the regular and imperial versions of Mikerphone’s Nirvana-themed stout thread together Vermont maple syrup and varying varieties of coffee in a sugary power chord.
Jackie O’s Bourbon Barrel Black Maple
Brewers pour maple syrup right into the kettle when brewing this imperial porter, which helps boost its ABV up to 12.5% while adding intense raisin and syrup notes to balance burnt toast and black licorice flavors. Ten months’ rest in bourbon barrels results in notes of vanilla, nougat, drying oak and toasted coconut.
Angry Orchard Tapped Maple
If a maple tree went rogue and started dropping apples from its branches, this is what they would probably taste like. Straightforward semi-sweet apple flavor leads the charge, revealing hints of cinnamon before the mostly dry finish; the Vermont maple syrup added to the cider is noticeable as subtle, warm, pancakey fumes that float in the air above the liquid on the palate.