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I did a review of Hunahpu's Imperial Stout before, and thought I could also share notes on the 5 year vertical tasting I did in November of 2020. As a reminder, Hunahpu is an 11.8% imperial stout with cinnamon, vanilla, cacao nibs and chile peppers. It's released every year in March, and outside of trading, can only be purchased at the annual Hunahpu's Day event in Tampa, FL.
Some people love to age Hunahpu, and I've had folks tell me the prefer it aged to fresh. On the other hand, some folks swear by having it fresh.
Name: Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout
Brewed by: Cigar City Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Stout
Availability: Released in March each year
Price: $30 (750 mL)
As a reminder, Hunahpu is always released in March, so even thew 2020 was somewhat aged (10 months).
To avoid repetition, I'm going to focus on the differences between each year and not rehash the similar qualities.
Start with the oldest vintage, the pour had a very thin head that dissipated very quickly. There is usually a noticeable pepper aroma, but that was almost totally gone. Additionally, the pepper flavor had faded almost completely, but the cinnamon and spice flavors were still noticeable. The sweetness definitely stuck around, leaving a still-tasty beer, but one that overall falls a bit flat compared to a fresh bottle.
There was a stark contrast moving from the 2016 to the 2017 vintage. The head retention was much stronger, and although there was still not a lot of pepper in the nose, and the pepper flavor was moire faint than fresh bottles, there was a much fuller flavor overall. The body seemed a bit stronger, and the flavors melded together a bit better with a noticeable dominance of vanilla and sweetness.
Like the 2017 the 2018 had good head retention and a body that was similar to the 2017. I noticed more of the cocoa flavors coming through along with the vanilla in the 2018 bottle, but still didn't get as much of the pepper. The body is definitely full and the floors more well rounded, and you could definitely start to notice more of the pepper flavor come through once it warmed up a bit.
There was a big difference going from the 2018 to the 2019 (jn a good way). Head retention was great, and there were much bolder, more distinct flavors in this one. The vanilla was still strong, but balanced out with cocoa and there were pepper flavors coming through with a bit of heat at the end of it. This definitely tasted more like the Hunahpu I know well.
>Th 2020 vintage, not surprisingly, had the most well-rounded snd distinct flavors of all the years we tried. The flavors didn't blend together as much, so you could pick them out more clearly. There was a lot more pepper in the flavor and the aftertaste than all other previous vintages, but there was still noticeable fading from a fresh bottle. The beer was less flat, and definitely drank like a fresh bottle.
I've said this to folks time and time again - I prefer this beer fresh. Having it within 6 months of bottling will give you a true experience, but that doesn't mean it isn't a blast to age. If you're gonna age it, but still want to have something that tastes somewhat accurate to the original, I'd set it aside for no more than a year.
That being said, this is one of those beers that transforms in really interesting and noticeable ways each year. You can absolutely tell things are changing, and having vintages back to back really gives you an idea of how a beer can evolve over time. A Hunahpu aged 5 years is still better than a lot of off-the-shelf stouts you can buy, and not to mention, it's a big crowd pleaser.
I want to hear from you. Are there beers you want me to try? Local or not, I’d love to hear it so let me know!