Pipeworks experiments on its imperial stout with Raspberry Truffle Abduction



This makes the third Pipeworks beer I've reviewed in six months of writing this column—excessive from certain points of view, I admit, but restrained when you consider the alarming number of releases the brewery has rolled out since October. My excuse today is that Pipeworks posted to Twitter that they were "very proud" of Raspberry Truffle Abduction, and the last time I heard such strong language from them, it was cofounder Beejay Oslon telling me he thought Citra Ninja was the best beer he'd made so far—a sentiment I turned out to share. (Two more batches of that double IPA are on the way.)

Of course, the good word is well and truly out about Pipeworks, and Raspberry Truffle Abduction has provoked a minor frenzy. I grabbed a bottle at the Binny's on Marcey on Thursday ($12.99 plus tax), and in the 20 minutes I spent in the store, the shelves were cleared of two full rows of it. Beer manager Adam Vavrick told me it'd been moving like that all day.

Oslon's business partner Gerrit Lewis, whose cartoon avatar appears in the beer's hilariously gruesome label art, explains that Pipeworks started by modifying the base recipe for their Abduction Imperial Stout, then added 200 pounds of raspberries from Seedling Fruit to the batch, plus roughly five pounds of cacao per 31-gallon barrel. "This was sort of an experiment," he says, "and next time we'll tweak the recipe a bit further, be able to time the raspberries and chocolate a little better to even get stronger flavors." They'd like to try orange- and cherry-truffle versions of the stout next.

Dont panic, Gerrit. He didnt get your heart. He only removed that giant raspberry you had in your thoracic cavity for some reason.
  • Don't panic, Gerrit. He didn't get your heart. He only removed that giant raspberry you had in your thoracic cavity for some reason.

Raspberry Truffle Abduction has a lovely, generous cappuccino-colored head, loose and fluffy, but it leaves hardly any lacing on the glass. In the original beer I could smell piney hops and charred cedar, but I can only just pick them out in this one—I suspect the aforementioned tweaks have downplayed those elements to help the fruit come through. Dark chocolate, Dutch cocoa powder, and toasted black bread dominate the aroma, and there's just enough raspberry jam to tickle your nose.

On the tongue, brightly tart berry complements a roasted-malt astringency that also suggests baker's chocolate—a cunning way to weave a delicate fruit into the powerful flavors of an imperial stout, which could easily overwhelm it. (Coffee Break Abduction pulls off a similar but probably less difficult alchemy.) I also get pine resin, white grapefruit peel, and a midnight-dark thread of burnt bitterness. Raspberry Truffle Abduction is decadent but not sweet or desserty; there's nothing goopy or syrupy about it. Silky smooth and low in carbonation, it lingers luxuriantly on the palate. Like regular Abduction, it's 10.5 percent alcohol, but you'd never guess.


On Wed 3/27 at 5 PM Xoco will offer Pipeworks tastings at a pairing event; the restaurant's special of the day is al pastor tacos, but they'll also serve snacks chosen to complement the beers.

It's hardly easy to segue into metal from anything that involves raspberry truffles. But I do know one good song with "abduction" in its name: "Rites to the Abduction of Essence" by UK death-metal band Cruciamentum, from a 2011 split with Vasaeleth.

On an unrelated note, you should definitely listen to Rorcal's new Vilagvege. The title means "the end of the world" in Hungarian, and the album sounds like it.

Philip Montoro writes about beer and metal, singly or in combination, every Monday.

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