I picked up Sleeping with the Fishies from Peabody Heights the other night on a whim because, well, I already had a handful of stouts and wanted one more. Plus, Peabody’s really been putting out some great beer recently, and I’m a sucker for Imperial Stouts anytime.
This one’s a bit different – I’d expect it to have a great big malty flavor and 9% ABV (anything labeled “Imperial” is higher up on the alcohol content), but I see that it’s made with NINE different malts, coffee, and “fish peppers”, which I didn’t notice until I read the can just now.
Fish peppers are a sort of mild, hot pepper (ranging from 5k-30k on the Scoville scale) that fell out of favor about 50 years ago, but has seen a recent resurgence in mid-Atlantic regional cooking. And they’re likely in the beer due to it being a collaboration with the AMAZING chefs at Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen.
As with any good stout, this one is opaquely black, but has a mild carbonation with a head that fades quickly. The aroma is a nice coffee smell with some of that dark malt toastiness.
That malt is the real star here, though. There’s a lot of nice, complex flavors and sweetness going on, along with a touch of coffee, a flavor you can’t quite put your finger on, and then some hot-pepper-spicyness on the back end.
It all kinda works nicely, and the spicyness lasts just long enough to give a zing then fade quickly.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of spicy beers, so I’d only ever have one then move on. However, that’s not me saying you shouldn’t try it – especially if you like spicy beers – there’s a lot going on here to love.
You should be able to find this now at both the brewery and better beer retailers in the Maryland area.