Second Chance from San Diego has just reached their first anniversary, and in celebration of that day they have released Festa Imperiale, a bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal Stout that is pegged at 9%. The beer itself pours with a dark brown coloration and a fair amount of tannish head. There are good amounts of brown sugar and vanilla that immediately present themselves in Festa Imperiale while the time that the beer spends in bourbon barrels moderates a decent amount all the alcohol burn that is typically presents in brews like these. There is substantial cohesion in Festa Imperiale meaning that as the beer continues to reach room temperature, the strength of the flavors initially present grow and become more dense. The beer itself would do well when paired with strongly flavored cuisine including Indian and Asian Fare.
The beer is an interesting counterpoint to their toasted porter Tabula Rasa which has a very strong and the sort of sort of flavor profile. This seems to be a bit of a juxtaposition in that typically one has a nuttier smoother mouth feel in a porter and a bit more of a better toasted malt sort of taste in a cell.
Second Chance shakes up the style conventions and creates two eminently drinkable beers. One is unable to taste the alcohol burn of a high ABV imperial stout while the complexity of the Tabula Rasa is such that one will likely have to take down a few pounder cans to taste all of the nuance that is presented with it. For a deeper look into the full array of beers that Second Chance offers on the regular and in seasonal format, check out their website.
Festa Imperiale Score: 9.0/10
Tabula Rasa Score: 8.5/10
Second Chance Bourbon Barrel Aged Festa Imperiale Oatmeal Stout and Tabula Rasa Smoked Porter / 9.5% ABV (Festa Imperial); 6.2% (Tabula Rasa) / https://www.facebook.com/secondchancebeercompany/ / http://www.secondchancebeer.com/