Description: X-9: 865cc Coffee Stout pours a deep brown-black with a tan head that has good retention and leaves a thin layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with notes of cold pressed fresh coffee up front with subtle backing hints of dark chocolate and roasted malts. The taste follows the nose, with coffee again being the dominant flavor, backed by wonderfully smooth notes of dark chocolate and roasted malts. A light-medium body and moderate carbonation make for a stout that is a bit livelier than might be expected but still ticks all the right boxes. The strong notes of coffee throughout truly make this beer incredible and delicious but maintain great balance without being too astringent. If you are a fan of great coffee and stouts, then this beer is a must-try!
Glassware: The coffee aroma is incredible, and the backing notes of chocolate makes for a scent that should truly be savored. The Spiegelau stout glass would be the first choice, but a nonic pint or snifter glass will also serve the beer quite well.
Food pairing: Coffee is most certainly a beverage of choice to pair with many desserts, but with this beer, the selections spread further outside that realm. Try pairing this with a delicious hamburger topped with cheddar cheese, onion rings, bacon, pickles and a bourbon and brown sugar barbecue sauce for a life-altering beer and dinner pairing. If you are in the mood for meat sans the bun, try pairing it with a porter steak, complete with coffee rub and the same bourbon and brown sugar barbecue sauce on the side. Desserts spring to mind, though, with this smooth coffee stout. There is no shortage of great dessert pairings with this beer – after all, the beer alone is great and dessert alone is great, so the two combined should be a true no-brainer! Try pairing with coffee cake, peanut butter brownies, coffee s’mores pie or tiramisu. The wide array of sweet desserts will offer both comparing and contrasting flavors to the beer, a fantastic way to end any meal!
The Final Word: While DuClaw has built up a strong reputation from their Sweet Baby Jesus! Peanut Butter Porter, the brewery is far from a one-trick-pony. Coffee Stouts, when done well, are decadent and delicious – beer that imparts a very relaxing feeling despite the caffeine. Though X-9: 865cc Coffee Stout is certainly an odd name for a beer, it does have a meaning behind it. The brewery features an experimental series called eXile, this being the 9th experimental beer in the series, hence the name X-9. The coffee is present, but not harsh or bittering. Instead, this is a great beer to enjoy while relaxing on a cool spring evening or with Sunday brunch. Regardless of when you have it, this is a beer that will be enjoyed by fans of stouts and coffee alike.