The ad wizards over at Dunkin’ Donuts would like the public to believe that the world runs on their coffee. I believe that to be a blatant falsehood. Ask any beer geek and they would say that the world runs on decadent and velvety stouts. Thankfully, Insight Brewing understands this idea and will again be releasing a bumper crop of magnificence in the form of their Gravity Well. This year, Insight is releasing 5 different bottles of Gravity Well and I have tasted 4. Here are my impressions.
Before I explain how I enjoyed this year’s variants of Gravity Well, I wanted to give a brief primer on the beer itself. Gravity Well is Insight’s imperial stout that spends a considerable amount of time aging. Gravity Well clocks in at 11% ABV and is the perfect winter sipper to be shared amongst friends. Lots of roasted malt and chocolate notes emanate from this hearty beer. Gravity Well holds its own when compared to other aged imperial stouts in the market like Surly Darkness and Lift Bridge Silhouette.
2017 Gravity Well
The first beer out of the gates at the media sneak preview is the regular gravity. When I say regular, I don’t mean average, I mean just the unadulterated aged beer. Before Gravity Well even goes into a barrel it is a fantastic stout. For the first year, a small amount of Gravity Well will be sent out to the marketplace and be available for purchase on liquor store shelves. This original Gravity Well has a great mouthfeel. It has heft in the form of velvety smoothness. The rich flavors of dark fruit-cherries, figs, and plums-are prominent in this beer. For being 11%, there is not a lot of heat in this beer, which I greatly appreciate.
2017 Rum Barrel-Aged Gravity Well
I will admit that I have not had a ton of stouts aged in rum barrels. When it comes to spirits, I gravitate towards bourbon. I can say with certainty that if every rum barrel-aged beer tasted like this one, I would seek them out with a ferocity that would make Colombo jealous. This is Insight’s first attempt at a rum barrel version of Gravity Well and they hit the mark with aplomb. It is a tad thinner than original Gravity Well. There is a nice layer of vanilla sweetness in this beer. It was a consensus amongst the media members that this beer came out exceptionally well. I would not sleep on bottles of this as they are sure to go fast.
2017 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Gravity Well
We are back in my barrel wheelhouse; bourbon. There are three realities of life that are ironclad: death, taxes, and imperial stouts in bourbon barrels are fantastic if done right. Insight has perfected this art over the years and I love how this year’s bourbon barrel-aged stout turned out. You get elements of wood and char in the aroma. Because of the nature of the barrels, some of the char falls off of the barrel exposing the oak. I think that this process helps give the beer a complexity and uniqueness. This one has a bit of heat, which I like. There are also some chocolate notes in the middle and it finishes some plum and fig flavors to really round it out.
2017 Rye and Bourbon Blend
In addition to all the wonderful flavors of the original beer, this unique blend of bourbon and rye takes this iteration of Gravity Well to 11. Insight uses Bulleit Rye and Wyoming Bourbon in this blend and I think that the result is an excellent beer. There is a pleasing amount of rye in the nose. To me, this one had the freshest barrel presence of all of them. I like the balance in this beer and I can’t wait to drink more of this at the event.
2017 Madagascar Vanilla Double Barrel Aged Gravity Well
This is a supremely limited beer that they are not releasing until the anniversary party. There is a limit of 1 bottle per person. Insight wanted to keep this beer a surprise, so we did not get to taste it. You will probably want some as it is aged in both rye whiskey and bourbon barrels.
A Trip Around the Sun 3
If you haven’t been to an Insight Brewing Company event, you are going to want to stop by the brewery on Saturday. There will be live music, great food options, and, of course, lots of great beer to imbibe! The event starts at 2, but you can line up for bottle purchase starting in the morning. If you are lining up for bottles, you might want to bring some cool stuff to share in line. Rumor has it that if anyone is willing to camp out the night before, Ilan will join you and bring some fun beverages to help keep everyone warm. This event is not to be missed and I hope to see you all there!
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