Alvarado Street “Hopeless Devotion” Old Fitzgerald & Heaven Hill Barrel-Aged Blended Imperial Stout

Name: Hopeless Devotion
Brewer: Alvarado Street Brewery (United States)
Style: Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (Base Style: Imperial Stout)
ABV: 15%
Review Year: 2022

Alvarado Street Brewery from California presents Hopeless Devotion, a brewing exploration that melds together intricate expressions derived from their collection of spirit barrel-aged beers. In this initial iteration, an exquisite combination emerges as two distinct Imperial Stout recipes intermingle and mature for 16 to 24 months. The transformative aging process takes place within four distinct Old Fitzgerald & Heaven Hill barrels, further enhancing the complexity and depth of this Imperial Stout.

Backlog review from April 2022.


This beer is being evaluated as a Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (33B) with the Imperial Stout (20C) as the base style, in the context of the 2021 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version can be found on the BJCP website.


The aroma is characterized by intense malty chocolate notes, accompanied by a subtle hint of alcohol.

Pouring a deep brown hue that borders on black, Hopeless Devotion presents itself with menacing darkness.

Dark chocolate is the star of the show. Supporting the main cast are subtle notes of wine/dark fruits, oak, and boozy whisky, which contribute to the flavor depth. The bitterness is moderately high, striking a fine balance with the medium-low sweetness. With each sip, the malty cacao dances on the palate, leaving behind a lingering impression that amplifies the beer’s overall appeal.


Full-bodied and low carbonation; true to style.


In summary, Hopeless Devotion is an excellent beer that delivers on its promise of intense and heavy aromas and flavors, perfectly fitting the style it represents. The presence of the whisky barrel aging is clearly discernible, adding an extra layer of complexity and character. It is worth noting that this beer exhibits a noticeable puckering quality, which can be expected in wood-aged beers. As such, it is a true delight for aficionados of barrel-aged brews, offering a sensory experience that is sure to satisfy their discerning palates.

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