Beer Review: PERENNIAL MAMAN 2018

Beer Review: PERENNIAL MAMAN 2018

The Perennial Maman 2018 pours into the glass with a thick, motor oil blackness reminiscent of the darkest beers on the market. The absence of light penetration is impressive, maintaining a consistent visual theme with the ominous dark reddish-brown foam that dissipates quickly. This visual presentation mirrors the brewery’s Barrel-Aged 17 Mint Chocolate Stout, lacking the black wax dip commonly found in retail releases.


Contrary to expectations from a barrel-aged imperial stout, the aroma of Maman 2018 doesn’t burst forth with a prominent barrel character. Instead, the nose captures notes of lemon and heavily roasted malt. The bitterness immediately takes center stage, reaching a surprising 9/10 intensity for an imperial stout, while sweetness hovers at a mid-range 5/10. The overall balance leans towards bitterness, spiciness, and an intense roast, bordering on sharpness and a hint of acidity reminiscent of lemon juice.


Moving on to the taste, a fleeting glimpse of rye bourbon emerges in the mid-palate, echoing the subtle presence noted in the Barrel-Aged 17. Tannic characteristics from barrel aging introduce a wet wood element, intensifying the apparent bitterness rather than contributing the much-needed sweetness. The result is a lingering, acidic, and mega-roasty finish that, while not unpleasant, deviates from the expected profile of a rich dessert stout.


In terms of mouthfeel, Maman 2018 shares a striking similarity with the previously reviewed Barrel-Aged 17, yet falls short in comparison. Despite the subtle barrel character in both, Maman lacks the creamy texture found in the latter, leaving room for improvement in delivering a more satisfying drinking experience.


With an overall similarity of about 90% to the Barrel-Aged 17, Perennial Maman 2018 fails to surpass its counterpart in terms of enjoyment. The fresh mint character of the Barrel-Aged 17 and its creamier mouthfeel contribute to a more favorable experience. Both offerings display nuanced barrel notes, which may be appreciated by some but could disappoint those seeking pronounced buttery oak and warming bourbon elements. Maman caters more to enthusiasts of massively bitter imperial stouts, drawing parallels to Cigar City’s Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout—an imposing brew that heavily emphasizes roasted malt overload.

In conclusion, while Maman 2018 doesn’t entirely miss the mark, it falls short of reaching the heights achieved by its sibling, the Barrel-Aged 17, in terms of flavor complexity and overall satisfaction. The subtleties of the barrel aging may be praised as nicely integrated by some, but for those expecting bold barrel notes, this offering may leave them wanting.

Reflection on Beer Reviews:

As a seasoned beer reviewer with over a decade of experience, it’s essential to strike a balance between offering valuable insights to consumers and providing constructive feedback to breweries. Critical reviews, when done thoughtfully, act as a form of quality control for businesses. It’s crucial for producers to view negative feedback not as sabotage but as an opportunity to enhance product quality. In today’s landscape, online reviews play a significant role in shaping a brewery’s reputation, with feedback serving as both a guide for consumers and a tool for continuous improvement. As reviewers, it’s crucial to maintain honesty while respecting the intelligence of the reader, and readers should, in turn, value diverse opinions. Disagreement is healthy, but discrediting and undermining are not.

The producer’s response to critical reviews should be seen as an opportunity for growth rather than a threat. Ignoring critical feedback may lead to short-term sales success, but long-term sustainability relies on addressing product quality issues. In the end, it’s a delicate balance between delivering honest reviews and understanding the challenges faced by producers in maintaining consistent quality across batches.