For this video, it was a rare cool July night and I had just eaten dinner, so I brought this big Imperial Stout from Neshaminy Creek over to Ben’s house to taste. I bought it a few weeks ago after my friend Kyle recommended it at work one night, and I’m glad he did. The so-called “s’more stout” was awesome, really delicious, but I was glad I had some people to share it with because I don’t know if I’d want a bomber of this to myself. It’s good, it’s just also pretty heavy.
Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company started up about three years ago in Croydon, Pa., and when I first heard of them I felt so nostalgic. I grew up a few miles up the river from there, the Neshaminy Creek ran past my hometown, we went to the Neshaminy Mall, played basketball against kids from Neshaminy, and so on. So while it’s not quite from my hometown, they’re pretty close by.
Anyway, when I heard “smore stout” I knew I’d have to try it. Stouts can be a really good platform for certain flavors (see: Founder’s Breakfast Stout, Tuckahoe’s New Brighton Coffee Stout) but not everyone gets it right. Each batch of Leon Russian is made with 16 pounds of bittersweet baker’s chocolate, 30 pounds of graham crackers, and 50 pounds of freshly-made marshmallow fluff. Oh, and a double dose of five or six kinds of malt. After reading that I decided that yea, Croydon is definitely close enough to South Jersey to justify a review of this.
As soon as I opened it I got a big whiff of dark cocoa and roasted malt aromas, and even more so after pouring. It’s a really dark, almost completely black color with really thick dark tan head. This Imperial Stout has a medium-to-thick mouthfeel with low carbonation, which suit the style.
The taste starts with the cocoa flavors from the chocolate and chocolate malt, with a bit of toast-y bread-y type flavors underneath. These level out to a slightly sweet and smooth taste, and a little bit of a dry finish with the tiniest bite of alcohol at the very end. It does a pretty good job of covering the really high ABV, which I think can be credited to its sweetness. There was also a really subtle graham cracker taste to it, but just a little bit underneath. The marshmallow fluff doesn’t really stand out, but I think it contributes to that just-right amount of sweetness.
Making a smore stout, the chocolate could’ve overpowered the other malts, it could’ve turned out too sweet, the graham crackers could’ve been lost in the sauce, but the balance is pretty good here. I feel like those flavors need a beer with enough body to keep them in check, and this one has it, I think because of all the malt they use.
All told, this was a really great beer, a big bold stout with some really cool flavors going on. It has enough flavor to hide most of the 11.6% alcohol, without being one-dimensional or bland. If you see the 22 ounce bombers around, it’s definitely worth grabbing one to share with some friends, with or without a campfire.