Brewview#79: Instruments of Darkness by Rohrbach Brewing Comapny

Another new release from Rohrbach Brewing Company to add to their illustrious Neoteric Series. The Instruments of Darkness is an Imperial Coffee Milk Stout that I first experienced on my trip out to Rochester for the Flour City Brewer’s Fest. It was then that I learned about the eventual can release that just recently took place. For those that frequent Rohbrach’s Brewpub and Beerhall I’m sure you’ve already seen it on tap, but for those that haven’t had the chance, the moment is upon us!

Let’s peer into the darkness and see if we can come back to the light!

The Beer: Instruments of Darkness by Rohrbach Brewing Company

Style: Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

ABV: 10% IBUs:45

Brewer’s Thought

You can find a nice description on either the side of each can or on Rohrbach’s website under the Neoteric Series section (

‘This Imperial Coffee Milk Stout was brewed with fresh Brazil roast beans from Fuego Coffee Roasters. The coffee imparts slightly fruity and strong roasted characteristics, while the complex grain bill offers notes of chocolate and caramel. Oats in the mash and lactose in the boil round the brew out with a smooth body and semi-sweet finish, while the high ABV imparts a sense of warmth to the imbiber. Contains caffeine.’

Our Descent Begins

Wow! I can’t say I’m surprised when I cracked open my can and filled my glass that Instruments of Darkness holds a pure black color. The only thing darker would be the Devil’s soul, if he even has one. Very dark and intriguing appearance for this Stout. The aromas for Instruments of Darkness emerged almost immediately. A very strong roasted coffee presence that does appear to be all consuming. But after reading Rohrbach’s description I took some time to notice if there were any of the fruit characteristics mentioned. If you can get past the strong coffee notes you may notice some fruit aromas floating around periodically. They’re not very strong but still very pleasant if you’re able to pick up on them.

image instruments

Darkness Falls

Holy nuts! For a Stout with an ABV of 10%, Instruments of Darkness is very smooth with an all around sweet feeling to it; making it extremely drinkable.

At the very beginning of the sip Instruments of Darkness presents you with a sweet roasted chocolate flavor. It’s amazing how this sweet feeling sticks around for the entire sip. Shortly after that there is a slight hint of bitter strong coffee that sits momentarily in the background till mid sip. Here is where the roasted coffee and fruit characteristics make themselves known. Though this time I’m more inclined to think the fruit notes are stronger than the coffee. After the mid sip the fruit notes seem to disappear for the moment and the coffee thrusts itself forward onto the main stage. But this is very momentary. Because shortly after the fruit notes pick back up and with them rise the coffee notes as well. It’s also at this point I’m noticing hints of the chocolate and caramel presented by the complex grain bill that Rohrbach’s spoke of. And right at the swallow things start to mellow out for a quick moment before the coffee and fruit aftertaste kicks in.

But let’s talk about the ‘semi-sweet finish’ shall we? It’s very interesting if you ask me. Here we are drinking a very complex beer that somehow is able to have such a smooth finish. I’m still getting a grasp on Lactose and its use in brewing, but if its the cause of this change up. Wow! What a display of brewing skills on Rohrbach’s part. I mean, we have all these changes in flavors and suddenly there’s this drop off like everything in the world is pure and perfect again and then just as quick, BAM! We’re hit with this amazing roasted coffee and fruity aftertaste. What else can I say? It’s amazing!

Again Instruments of Darkness does not possess the feel of a 10% Stout, though there are some hints at it. I’m noticing them mid sip and in the aftertaste, touches of booziness. I guess you could say Rohrbach’s threw them in there to remind you of how strong Instruments of Darkness truly was, despite the overall smooth nature. For this time of year I really enjoy beers that possess that booziness tone. Typically I only find them in Belgian Tripels or something of that sort. I guess I found my new winter beer for this year, time to stock up!

Let’s finish up with the mouthfeel. I’m finding it hard to describe it in away. It has a thick feel to it, though not in a creamy fashion. I’m thinking the Lactose has a role in this. My mouth has a strong coating with a sweet side as well as a bitter coffee side. It’s an enigma I guess. Very pleasant though. Despite the fact that my glass is now empty, I am thoroughly enjoying the aftertaste and mouthfeel.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

From my previous experience at Flour City Brewer’s Fest I knew Instruments of Darkness was an amazing beer. Now that I had the time to fully dissect and truly see what the darkness hides within I am even more impressed. Instruments of Darkness is a very complex but smooth natured Imperial Coffee Milk Stout. There are some bitter coffee notes and some sweet but smooth notes as well. Either way if you are one that enjoys Stouts I’m sure you will be pleased with this one. But please do me one favor. Take the time to enjoy Instruments of Darkness to its fullest. There are somethings that can be easily missed and therefore you will not be able to appreciate the true nature of this beer. I will definitely be stocking up on Instruments of Darkness for this upcoming and long cold season. Though I doubt the beer will last.

Thanks for reading. I really enjoyed writing this, I hoped you enjoyed reading it as well. Feel free to leave a comment or if you’re not a follower yet hit the menu button and click ‘Become A Follower.’



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