Elevation Beer Company - Oil Man
- ABV: 10.8%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, or Teku Glass
For our latest Rare Beer Club special offer, we’ve been working with Elevation Beer Co. out in Colorado to come up with a showcase of some of their tastiest limited offerings. We had a few beers from Elevation as regular features in the club, and they have proven to be some of the most delicate, carefully presented big beers we’ve crossed. Elevation brings that precision to this crop of four, starting with their deftly handled barrel-aged imperial stout: Oil Man.
Oil Man pours a super-dense chocolate brown in the glass, quite opaque and capped by rich, frothy brown foam. Not much light coming through, but a generous amount of head from a 10%+ imperial stout. This incorporates a wide malt bill, including chocolate malt along with roasted and flaked barley—and there’s no doubt that there is an enormous amount of darker malt complexity here, from the aroma forward. Rich aromatics of cocoa and bitter chocolate, roasted almonds, toffee—all fluidly integrated, with a wealth of chocolate underneath it all.
First impressions: this is exceptionally smooth. While there’s a ton going on here overall, the central milk chocolate, cocoa and caramelization make for a very streamlined core, and all of the additional complexity plays out from there. Digging in further shows darker, more bitter chocolate profiles, plus roasted coffee, licorice and a subtle hint of anise on the malt side. As this warms up a bit, you can get a touch more of the Northern Brewer and Chinook hops as well—they’ll first appear subtly, as a very welcome, mineral- and mint-focused edge of bitter to balance out those malts. As long-time RBC members can attest, we pretty obviously drink a fair number of imperial stouts in the club. Our favorites are the silky-smooth ones like this.
Like most of these burly offerings from Elevation, Oil Man should age quite gracefully with a bit of additional time in the cellar. That said, the levels of oxidation feel pretty nice at the moment—adding some caramelization and sherry-like secondary notes that work great with the core chocolate-driven profile here. For pairings: the brewery recommends sipping Oil Man alongside chocolate brownies, Texas-style brisket, or bourbon-glazed pork loin.
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