No-Li really has hit quite the stride lately, at least as far as those special beers go. I quite liked their Jet Star, an imperial IPA, and was excited to try their new imperial stout. And Wrecking Ball is by no means a bad beer. It's just not as spectacular as I had hoped it would be.
It pours a very dark color, though possibly not as black as you'd expect an imperial stout to be. The nose seems to be dominated by a somewhat faint roastiness and a sweetness from raspberries. It's nice, but perhaps more on the bland side than it should be.
The flavor, though, is not. It's straightforward, but there definitely is something going on here. A bitterness reminiscent of dark chocolate dominate, well flanked by roasted malts, just as the bottle advertises. The 9.5% ABV lingers just a little bit in the back, though this is nowhere as boozy as you might expect. Overall, a pleasant tasting beer.
Two oddities worth pointing out: First, the mouthfeel. It's creamy on the tip of the tongue, yet seems to gradually get thinner as it travels back toward the throat. I can't remember ever experiencing anything quite like that.
Second, while imperial stouts should be served fairly warm, this one seemed to shine just a little brighter when it reached a higher temperature. I did not measure how warm it was (because, let's face it, that'd be on the edge of going way too far) but I'm guessing it was on the north side of 65 degrees.
So. Wrecking Ball is not a bad beer, but I had hoped it would be just a bit more exciting. I have a feeling it could improve quite a bit with age, particularly the mouthfeel.
As it is, it's still worth giving it a shot. In fact, I feel anyone who likes big beers should try the Wrecking Ball. It's a testament to what No-Li is doing when we can have these kind of discussion about what really is a perfectly good beer.
Oh, and just to re-itterate what I've said many times now: No-Li's labels are some of the most awesome modern beer labels I've seen. Clean, informative, and just a bit different than the same ol'.
Vote for No-Li Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout: It’s your civic duty!