We've all heard of Peter the Great, Ivan the Terrible, and Catherine the Great, but now there's new Russian royalty to remember: Vlad the Cyclone! Newport Storm has, once again, hit the mark with a great beer with its latest, Cyclone Vlad. Vlad, the 22nd in the Cyclone series, is supreme ruler as a Russian Imperial Stout style beer - a dark brew that was originally brewed and specially exported to the court of Catherine II of Russia! The brewers at Storm tried their hand at this difficult style and succeeded with royal honors.
Vlad shows his imperial strength with a hefty 9% ABV but rewards the drinker with delectable dark roasted coffee and chocolate flavors provided by dark specialty grains. These grains include a new-to-Storm ingredient, chocolate wheat, giving the beer a smooth, tan head that keeps inviting you back for another sip! And unlike other brews from Storm, only one type of hop was used for this Cyclone, and it's one that fits Vlad perfectly: the warrior hop creates a rounded bitterness to the beer that compliments all the dark, malty sweetness created by the grains and chocolate.
"The emphasis with this brew are the waves of chocolate, roasted, cherry, coffee, and finishing roasted flavors that will almost pleasingly overwhelm you,” explains Brewmaster Derek Luke.
It also takes time to become royalty; a longer, more complicated brew process was implemented to perfect this style. Vlad took around-the-clock brewing and not one, as is customary, but three "maxed mash tuns‟ (the mixing of the grains and hot water) to result in a full-bodied, balanced stout. Extra tank conditioning time was also required to create the smoothness to Vlad. Vlad certainly was a labor of love, but well worth creating a beer that drinks remarkably smooth, given the higher alcohol and dark malt profile.
The Brewery will be open for tastings during special hours the day that Vlad is bottled, Tuesday, October 16th from 5-7 p.m., where you can be one of the first to taste this latest Cyclone right off the bottling line! Tastings are just $7 (plus tax) and include tastings of 4 beers (including Vlad, of course), a souvenir tasting glass and a self-guided tour. And as usual, Storm has cranked things up a notch, giving fans the opportunity to purchase Vlad the week it's bottled, too, before it even leaves the warehouse. Watch Storm's Facebook page for announcements on which retailers will get a special delivery of Cyclone Vlad.
Information provided by Newport Storm.