Having had some beer imbibing success with Scandinavian brewers over the past several years (NOGNE Ø, MIKKELLER, HAANDBRYGGERIET et al), it was no big stretch to take the bait on this hokey “black and tan” idea from upstart Danish brewer EVIL TWIN. I mean, it was all the rage in the dark worlds of the beer dork cognoscenti just a few weeks ago, and who am I to decline to partake? The idea is as follows. You buy a bottle of YIN – their imperial stout. You then buy a bottle of YANG – their “American-style” imperial IPA. You mix them together into a black and tan, and supposedly the sum of the parts will be even greater than the parts standing alone. Perhaps this might be the revival of the Irish pub parlor trick of sloshing some pale ale into a stout and selling the resulting concoction to the gullible, easily hucked young drinker. Let’s find out if this will be a trend with legs.
EVIL TWIN YIN is a spicy imperial stout with a big chocolate taste, but unfortunately brings a level of astringency that just overwhelms any goodness inherent in the beer. Alcohol is 10%, and it really tastes it – and not in a good way. So I then tried EVIL TWIN YANG to see if I could cut the harsh bummer that was playing itself out on my tongue. Hmmm- better, but not by much. There isn’t enough malty chewiness to balance out the insane levels of hopping here, and the hops themselves are far from “west coast” varieties my palate has adjusted to. They may as well be Icelandic – they certainly tasted that way.
Ah well, let’s mix ‘em up, just like ‘Ol Seamus McGillicuddy down at The Dubliner does! Well, it’s not a total loss. The stout totally overwhelms the IPA, as it was already hoppy and strong – so this is just more of the same. What a crock! I didn’t like any of these solo, nor together, and even though the blend got a little more drinkable as it warmed, most of it was down the drain before I could finish it off. YIN = 5/10; YANG = 5.5/10; YIN-YANG = 5.5/10. Never again.