Ursus Spelaeus from hence forth known as Ursus is one of three beers from Poulsbo, Washington’s Sound Brewery to recently arrive in Alberta. Ursus is an Imperial Stout brewed with a Belgian yeast strain at a modest 10% ABV with 68 IBUs. As Imperial Stouts are my favourite of all beers I find myself to rate them much differently than other styles with a probable bias.
Pouring a bleak, opaque black with a finger of foamy beige head and a few splotches of short lived lacing Ursus looks like most Imperial Stouts from a distant. Taking a closer look with a quick sniff from the glass a prominent licorice as well as a robust roasted malt float off. As a person of Dutch heritage who grew up with licorice pastels as candy I love licorice especially in Imperial Stouts. I swoon with the thought of a licorice flavoured stout. The first sip has a noted roasty bitterness with sultry espresso and vanilla flavours as well as light fruity yeast notes albeit rather subtle. I am at first disappointed at the lack of licorice flavouring in the taste but after a while of sipping on Ursus a moderate lingering licorice takes form in the aftertaste. Ursus has a beautiful monstrous roast with espresso and vanilla notes but regardless of this, the licorice remains my centrepiece.