Beer: Skillet Donut Stout
Brewery: Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC)
Style: Stout – Coffee
8% ABV / 55 IBU
Burial’s celebrated Skillet Donut Stout is meant to simulate the experience of the police patrol officer’s stand-by: a cup of coffee and a freshly baked donut. For the coffee part, it’s s slam dunk—this is in stiff competition with the Sump Coffee Stout from Perennial Artisan Ales as the exemplar of the style. Burial has tinkered with the formulation over the year, but it currently brewing (and canning) Skillet Donut Stout twice a year with coffee from local roasters Counter Culture. The coffee flavor is strong and boldly bitter, but ultimately in harmony with the nine different types of barley malts incorporated in the mash.
As for the donut flavor, that’s decidedly less pronounced. In its original formulation, Skillet Donut Stout was more of an oatmeal stout with pronounced coffee flavors, this version still uses a scoop of oats in the brew, along with lactose and molasses, but those flavors never quite meld for a “donut” effect. The chocolate notes are really from the coffee, creating more of a “mocha” taste, rather than something akin to a pastry. The donut experience, unfortunately, is something you will have to simulate in your mind.
But it’s easy to let your mind wander and get lost in Skillet Donut Stout. It’s the stuff o’ dreams. The smell of it evokes coffee in both its just-roasted bean form and freshly-brewed form. There’s a decent amount of carbonation here, too, which cuts against the norms for stouts but tickles your tongue as the bitterness clings to your palette. Thanks to the lactose, it also sports a creamy mouthfeel. The dangerous part is that it’s almost indistinguishable from cold brew coffee right out of the fridge. Not that you should start your morning off with Skillet Donut Stout, but perhaps it’s the right thing to do and the right way to do it at a civil hour.
For more info, check out Burial here.