Bottle art has been getting pretty creepy lately, but I think I like it. Pulcinella Oak Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout by Hi-Wire Brewing has plenty of creepiness with its illustration of the 17th century Italian improv character that shares its name. True to Pulcinella’s complex and peculiar character, this stout was aged in an unusual assortment of oak barrels. The barrels previously held everything from Napa Valley Zinfandel to Kentucky bourbon to North Carolina dark rum… Complex indeed…
Pulcinella pours a deep, dark brown with a slight redish tint. The head is thick and fluffy like a chocolate marshmallow resting on the top. The aroma has a strong bourbon, vanilla, and dark fruit presence from the oak barrel aging. Robust brown sugar and chocolate notes do a good job of hiding all but a slight hint of booze.
Malty dark chocolate, molasses, and brown sugar dominate the flavor profile of this stout. An intense burst of dark fruits and tart cherry pierce the center of the tasting experience with mellow oak and vanilla finishing it out. The heavy body holds up to the robust flavors with a creamy texture that goes down smooth.
Hi-Wire executes very well on the Russian imperial stout style with Pulcinella. Although the oak flavors are more subtle than the onslaught of barrel types would suggest, these characteristics do an excellent job of framing the intensity of the malt. Pulcinella may be an odd bird, but it’s also a wonderful mid-winter sipper.
- Appearance: Dark Brown, Redish Tint / Fluffy, Brown Head
- Aroma: Bourbon, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Dark Fruit, Booze
- Flavor: Dark Chocolate, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla, Cherry, Oak
- Mouthfeel: Heavy Body, Creamy Texture
- ABV: 9.0%