Before I detail my experience with this beer, I think it only fair to warn that it contains considerable quantities of Calendula flowers. They create an almost overwhelming Calendul-ish quality to this beer that will probably overwhelm palates that have any idea what Calendula flowers taste like. Mine certainly didn’t.
It’s always awkward for a beer reviewer to encounter an unfamiliar ingredient. I don't know what Calendula flowers are, what they smell like or what they taste like. The Stone Brewing Co. Suede Imperial Porter could taste like the living embodiment of Calendula flowers and I wouldn't know it. I just want to acknowledge that they are in there and that they could possibly be the best thing about the beer.
The Suede Imperial Porter, a collaboration brew with 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and Bluejacket, pours a dark, dark and dark brown with a beady tan head. That head eroded pretty quickly but left significant lacing on the glass. The aroma is redolent of coffee and nectary sweetness with nutty undertones.
Flavors of dark chocolate, offset by a bright, honey-like sweetness, give this some real depth. There’s just enough piney and flowery hops to round it out, but it's predominantly a sweet sipper. The finish is a little boozy with the pine flavors lingering about.
The name of the beer is totally apropos. Its silky texture, while marginally thin in mouthfeel, delivers a lush porter experience. It’s a great beer for this time of year and likely a solid beer for this time next year if properly cellared.