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Copperhead Black Venom Imperial Stout

 

Copperhead Black Venom Imperial Stout

Copperhead Brewery

Conroe

Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

IBUs: 50

Packaging: Draft, 4 pack 12 ounce bottles

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Copperhead Black Venom is one of those beers that pops up on the shelves randomly, but it doesn’t stick around for long, so when I saw it at HEB a few weeks ago, I had to grab a four pack. I’ve been wanting to write about it forever, but as I mentioned in my Buried Hatchet write up, I don’t usually want a stout during summer.

The artwork, like all of Copperhead’s beers, is crazy awesome. This Black Venom features a purple and black scene of a snake skeleton emerging from some sort of black goo, surrounded by trippy little mushrooms and a frog. All of their stuff sticks out to me, but it’s probably because I’m a highly-opinionated graphic designer.

Copperhead Black Venom poured straight black. The opacity is zero. It’s like a liquid black curtain. The head is a creamy, tawny-brown with tiny-bubbles that allow it to stand up for a while until melting down into a thin tan layer that hangs around for each sip.

The nose is surprisingly mild. All I get is sweet, sweet chocolate-roastiness on the nose. Having a handful of Copperhead’s beers and hearing Nick speak so highly of this one, I guess I expected to get bit in the nose, but I wasn’t.

Despite the modest nose on Copperhead Black Venom, I was greeted with an extremely gentle 10 ABV on my palette. Seth isn’t really trying to be a jack of all trades when it comes to brewing. When we interviewed him, he shared with us that he’s really good at making dangerously sneaky beers that are deceptively drinkable despite their poisonously high ABV. The dad in me wants to make a terrible joke and call his beers snakes in the grass. Oh, God, I love it.

The carbonation of Copperhead Black Venom is spot on with tiny little bubbles prickling your tongue. Each sip starts with a mild, roasty bitterness like baker’s chocolate. That’s followed by an enjoyably sweet rush on the palette, probably from all the brown sugar. The sip finishes out with a mildly grainy bitterness that, again, all feels too tame for the bigness of this beer. The body is a bit lighter than I expected, but I’m not surprised with Seth’s sneaky track record.

I’d say it’s a lighter, less coffee-ish comparison of Abide or a heavier, more roasty comparison of Buried Hatchet. Maybe I say that because I just finished drinking each of them. They’re fresh on my palette, so don’t quote me here.

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You can find Copperhead Black Venom in 4 packs at HEBs, and I want to say I’ve seen it at Spec’s and Total Wine too, but I don’t remember for sure. Word on the streets is Boondocks on Westheimer has some on tap too, but it’ll probably be gone soon, especially if we can get a cold front to stick around for more than a day or two.

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Tony D
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Tony's an artist that loves craft brew almost as much as he does Houston. He's worked in the oil industry and owns a few small businesses. Tony isn't picky when it comes to beer types, as long as it's refreshing and sessionable.

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