Yeti Imperial Stout, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver

Style: Imperial stout

ABV: 9.5 percent

Packaging: 12-ounce bottle

Taste: Intense roasted malts and an unexpected hop bite.

Reviewed: November 2012

When temperatures around the Mile High City start to dip below freezing, we stock the fridge with stouts—the consummate winter-brew style. Although there are plenty to choose from, we often find ourselves reaching for a four-pack of Great Divide‘s Yeti Imperial Stout.

Imperial stouts aren’t meant for the casual beer drinker. They’re typically motor-oil thick, packed with dark malts, and high in alcohol content—a combination that can overrun taste buds. Yeti is all these things, yet it somehow remains a relatively approachable brew. The pour is jet black with a thick mocha head. The smell is imposing: dark roasted malts, toffee, and a bit of chocolate and alcohol. One swig in, and a rich chocolate flavor hits first, which dissipates quickly, leaving more of a bitter finish—cocoa and, surprisingly, hops. In fact, Yeti has more hop character than most imperial stouts we’ve tried, and it’s almost as if the extra hops tame the dark malts. Don’t be fooled by the not-that-overpowering boozey undertones: at 9.5 percent, Yeti hits hard.

Would we buy it again? We buy it every winter.