"Six-Up" Imperial Stout
When Sonya and I were first starting out, we spent a weekend in Grass Valley, CA attending the annual Draft Horse Classic - one of the biggest draft horse competitions on the west coast. I had very little horse experience at that time, but I was immediately impressed by the sheer size and power, yet gentle nature of these majestic creatures. We spent hours visiting different teams and their owners, and the whole place had a very cool vibe - I felt quite at home. Later in the evening, they held the competition for the different classes of show - ending with the Six-up Class (the largest class). To my recollection, there were eight to ten teams with six draft horses each pulling huge hitch wagons around the arena. As soon as the gates opened, the ground started shaking as these thunderous rigs passed us! I WAS HOOKED. With the possible exception of viewing flight operations while sitting in a jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier, I have never witnessed such a stunning display of power, agility, talent, and orchestrated beauty. What struck me the most was how well those huge horses worked together as a team - beautiful as individuals but indescribable as a well oiled machine.
The Six-Up Hitch in all it's glory!
Six-up Oatmeal Stout is named after the ultimate grandeur that is the six-up hitch team. It is a huge beer crafted with six additional grains other than the base malt. Like these draft horse teams, it is big in every way, but it works well together. Six-up is inky black in color and toasty, but smooth in flavor. There are not-so-subtle hints of chocolate and espresso (though none of either is used in the blend) with the oatmeal lending a creaminess that balances the dark roasted malts. There is plenty of hop bitterness, but it acts to balance the malt flavor and it hides slightly under the surface. It is the blend of the dark malts that steal the show with this monster. If you are expecting a dry, thin flavor profile (like many other popular commercial stouts bring), you will surely be surprised with the "Six-up" experience. Many have tasted this and commented that it tastes like an adult milkshake!
This beer will get your attention, and keep it!