Lagunitas bills this brew as the “Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout” but that’s a bit of a misnomer. There is not a cappuccino in this beer; there isn’t even espresso in this beer.
Lagunitas brews the stout by adding one pound of freshly ground Colombian coffee per barrel of beer into the kettle and whirlpool. Lagunitas claims that adding the grounds directly into the boil is the only way to ensure that the beer extracts the most flavor from the grounds.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout—a collaboration from California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company and Seattle’s Kalani Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
color: Dark Brown
ingredients: Coffee, Cascade Hops, Centennial Hops
Upon pouring the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout into my tulip, the beer is a hazy dark brown with some reddish tints when held up to the light – not unlike a cola, really. I’m really surprised, though, by its translucency – not transparent, but certainly not opaque by any means. I haven’t encountered many stouts that I can see through, and I have to wonder if that’s a byproduct of the aging this beer underwent. After a pretty vigorous pour the beer is topped by a thin tan head that dissipated in less time than it took to write this sentence; not much lacing, either. It’s almost as if the beer went flat.
As mild as the beer appears, its aroma, on the other hand, is not so mild. It’s somewhat sweet, with scents of brown sugar, cocoa, and caramel, but it’s mostly bitter, with scents of burnt coffee, booziness, and roasted malts.
Taking my first few sips, the flavor of the beer is even more abrasive than the aroma. This is an intensely roasty beer that has a much lighter body than it should and no backbone to speak of. It’s much more carbonated than I was expecting it would be, hoppier (in terms of flavor and texture) than it should be, and its body is more syrupy (again, like flat cola) than it should be. Some moderate flavors of caramel, oatmeal, pumpernickel bread, and molasses; some heavy doses of booziness, over-roasted coffee, the coffee’s oils, roasted grains and barley, and dark malts throughout a really bitter, unpleasant finish.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; no acidity; clean finish.
Lagunitas Brewing Company is a brewery that seems to be more or less known for their hop-forward beers: Maximus, A Little Sumpin Sumpin, Censored, Hop Stoopid, Brown Shuggah… All of which I really like. As far as I can tell, they have only two stouts in their massive roster: Imperial Stout and this, the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout.
Let me first say that I have not had the original Cappuccino Stout – the beer I reviewed here today was a limited-release aged (2014) variant. So while it wouldn’t be fair for me to say that the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout is not a very good beer, it is still fair to say that the aged release was a failed experiment. This is a bitter and unpleasant drinking experience with very little positive to redeem it.
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.