Reviewed by Ron DeGregorio
Lately, I have been inundated with the Fall favorite pumpkin beers. Don’t get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed my search for the best of the style, but I needed a break. With it being a very cool Ohio evening, I ran to my refidgerator to snag my favorite style of all; the stout. I was super excited to try Troeg’s Java Head as it combines my two liquid loves; beer and coffee.
According to Troegs, ”JavaHead Stout contains a blend of locally roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans by St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown PA.
JavaHead’s recipe is based on our original Oatmeal Stout. After the boil, the hot wort passes through our hopback vessel on its way to fermentation. Packed full of whole leaf hops and a bed of ground coffee beans, the hopback vessel is similar to using a huge French press, intensifying the coffee nose and releasing subtle hints of coffee flavor. The result is a lush, smooth mouthfeel balanced with cocoa, roast, and subtle coffee flavors.”
Let’s see how it went.
Appearance: Dark, dark beer! That classic deep dark brown a coffee stout should be. A big thick brown/cream colored head that is reminiscent of a root-beer float fills the snifter glass.
Aroma: Wow. Interesting smell. It smells like the boil segment of a home brew! Is that aroma hops? It seems like it. It smells to me like boiling grains and malts. Unfortunately, I am not getting a lot of coffee or java aromas, which is what I was looking for. Even as the beer warmed in my hands, the smell never shifted into that coffee aroma I was seeking.
Taste: Ah, this is a smooth stout. I have to say, I’ve missed stouts dearly. Interestingly, there is a somewhat grassy flavor to this. I have to imagine that is the hops used in the boil. It is bitter, probably from the coffee, but I definitely do not taste any coffee or java flavors. There is a VERY light hint of coffee on the back end, but not too much. Definitely not what I was expecting, and sadly, not what I was hoping.
Conclusion: I give this a 78 or a C+. It’s just okay. I was really hoping for a bigger coffee character, which this beer lacks. I’ve read other reviews of this beer, and people seem to enjoy it! So by all means, check this beer out. If nothing else, it brings you back to the lovely style of stouts, just in time for those dipping Fall temperatures.