Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas is Begyle Brewing Company’s oatmeal stout aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. To clear things up, the base beer—Begyle Flannel Pajamas—is an oatmeal stout, and Begyle’s Imperial Pajamas is an imperial oatmeal coffee stout. Oddly, though, Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas is not a barrel aged version of the coffee variant (which is named Imperial Pajamas).
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas, from Begyle Brewing Company in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
style: Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout
ingredients: Pale Malt, Roast Barley, Caramel 120L, Caramel, Flaked Oats, Malted Wheat, Debittered Black Malt, Chocolate Malt, Bravo Hops, Willamette Hops, US Perle
The Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas pours into my tulip with the look and and viscosity of motor oil. It comes out of the bottle thick and black, with brown and reddish hues around the edges. The head is medium-sized (one finger width) and dark tan, and doesn’t have much retention. The foam dissipates pretty quickly, but it does have incredible legs, with lacing that clings to the globe of the glass.
The aroma of this beer is really intense. Like, so intense that I can smell it while it’s sitting on a table on the other side of the room. It explodes out of the glass and fills the air with massive, bombastic scents of dark chocolate, burnt caramel, bourbon, oak, pepper, clove, and pine.
The taste follows the nose – very intense flavors, a massively chewy, molasses-like texture with quite a bit of carbonation (more than I was expecting); a lot of my perception of the beer’s flavor profile is informed by its aroma, as, with every sip, my nostrils are stung by scents of bourbon and burnt oak. I can definitely taste the oatmeal component first and foremost, as each sip possesses the fullness and flavors of burnt oats, roasted barley, and brown sugar. The beer has a base of dark chocolate, vanilla, and burnt caramel, features nuances of savories (licorice, anise, clove) and dark fruits (black cherry, raisin, fig), and possesses a moderately boozy, alcoholic burn. As it warms closer to room temperature, that burn fades and the beer sweetens a bit as those cocoa, brown sugar, and vanilla flavors become more prominent.
Full body; viscous mouthfeel; carbonic acidity; clean finish.
I really enjoyed Begyle Brewing’s 2015 Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas. It’s a pretty straightforward barrel aged stout that doesn’t hold too many surprises—burnt sugars, toasted grains and oats, wood, bourbon, boozy—and it’s a pleasure to drink. Great balance, great flavor, not too complex, a little sweet…
I have to say, though, for my money, I preferred their coffee-infused Imperial Pajamas collaboration with Ipsento Coffee. (And I’m not just saying that because I’m primarily a coffee guy). It was a lot like this barrel aged variant, but with the added complexities that Ipsento’s Wildfire Espresso provided.
Still, though, this is a tremendous beer. A great one to sip while putting 2015 to bed.
Happy New Year, everybody. See you in 2016.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.