Swedish brewer Omnipollo is among a growing portfolio of brewers allowing their offerings to be distributed by the 12 Percent Beer Project—a brewer collective and importer working to increase the distribution footprint of brewers including Fat Orange Cat, Decadent, Stillwater, and Evil Twin. The advantage is obvious: more product is delivered to a wider audience. That’s exactly how Aon Pecan Mud, a flavored imperial stout, ended up on the shelves of a Manhattan, Kansas beer store nearly 5,000 miles away from Stockholm.
It’s hard for a brewer to distinguish an imperial stout by appearance alone, because they all tend to share the same qualities: Deep, dark brown in color and totally opaque in clarity. While Pecan Mud hits both marks, the head is a touch lighter than I’d expect of an imperial stout with “mud” in the name.
Pecan Mud differentiates itself from every other imperial stout on the shelf as soon as your nose gets close to the glass. A wave of nutty fudge is the first thing you notice. Pecan Mud smells like Mississippi mud pie—a blend of strong chocolate, pecan, and coffee aromas. It’s not exactly what I look for in a beer, but plenty enticing anyway.
This is an example of a beer with too much of a good thing, namely sweet chocolate and pecan.”
The punch of pecan, chocolate, and coffee flavors carries through to the taste, and is joined by sweet coconut. The combination can get a little sweet, lacking roasty bitterness to balance it out. It drinks like a pastry stout, which makes sense as Omnipollo brewer Henok Fentie said of Pecan Mud, “When I was 12, I dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. Call this a creative outlet.” It’s certainly a creative flavor profile for a beer, though one I’ve had enough of after half of a glass.
This is an example of a beer with too much of a good thing, namely sweet chocolate and pecan. The bitterness that cacao and coffee can bring is nowhere to be found and badly needed to clean things up. Add in another layer of cloying coconut and the result is simply too sweet. Even if dialing up the roastiness means turning down the chocolate and pecan, it’d be a worthwhile trade. Pecan Mud is a beer I’d buy again, but save for dessert.