It's All In The Head

Brewery and Country of Origin: Three Heads Brewing of 164 Chelmsford Road, Rochester, NY, 14618, USA

Date Reviewed: 11-29-12

As you are probably aware, different beer styles are going to produce different levels of foam heads. A beer's head is formed by the expansion of gaseous molecules contained within a beer as it hits a glass during a pour. Turbulence and pressure introduce outside forces to a beer, which incite the escape of absorbed gas. Natural and/or deliberate (laser made widgets on the bottoms of glasses) imperfections on a glass' surface create microscopic crevasses where nucleation of the gasses (either carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or a mixture of the two) can occur, further increasing carbonation action. The foam head plays an important part of the beer drinking experience. Not only does it provide a good indication of a beer's quality (a foam head should to match what's typical of the style), its structure can greatly enhance the aroma of a beer. Aromatic beers such as tripels, porters, and many wheat beers have big foam heads created by relatively large amounts of carbon dioxide formed as a byproduct of a yeast's metabolism during fermentation. Stouts usually have fairly large foam heads due to the malt used during brewing. Though we actually don't know the story behind this beer's name, we can only assume that there really is no connection between this stout and its style's trait to exhibit particularly tall foam heads. Perhaps, but we just don't really know... or care. Either way, this is a very good beer, and hopefully you'll be able to appreciate its foam a little bit more.
Date Sampled: 11-22-12 At: 146 Fiddlers Hollow, Penfield, NY, 14526, USA
Beer Style: Foreign/Export Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 7.00%
Serving Type: Brewery Growler, 16 oz Mug Glass
Rating: 4.07


Big head's head is a three quarters inch tall with a medium density and an average amount of cascade. This is formed by a below average level of carbonation action, but a fairly high level of retention. There is a very nice dary ruby red color with a clear appearance, but this is only evident held up to light. An average amount of lacing occurs on the glass.


There is a light aroma of subtle roasted malt and a very small amount of hops detectable. This faint aroma is a result of the modest amount of foam head and carbonation action in this beer. Though despite this rather weak aroma, the flavor is still very bold.


The Big Head is a medium full bodied beer with an above average weight, typical of the style. This beer has a moderate level of carbonation, giving it a balanced feel between dull and crisp. This beer finishes with a very dry close, as well as a subtle warming effect due to an elevated level of alcohol.


This beer features a strong, very dark roasted malt flavor with a slight sweet caramel or molasses note. The almost burnt flavor of this beer gives it a fairly bitter flavor throughout, kept in check with a secondary note of sweetness. The beer ends with a fair bit of hops with a somewhat lingering aftertaste, and a dry close.

Our Take

Aside from this beer's rather robust foam head, there are plenty of good things to say about this stout out of the Flour City. A big, bold flavor accompanied by a full body and plenty of substance. This is a colder weather beer, which bodes well for the upcoming months. And though this beer was enjoyed with a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, this beer would go great with most hearty winter meals like stews, meats, and chili. The higher alcoholic percentage gives this beer a subtle, and much appreciated warming effect after the finish, which can help make tailgating those cold Buffalo Bills games at Ralph Wilson Stadium a bit more tolerable. For those who aren't looking for a bigger beer (the North Hemisphere is entering the wrong season for you), you might want to turn your attention to something else (like a winter ale of sorts). This is also a pretty malty beer, which may not be as welcomed to everyong as it apparently was for us. That said, this is an excellent beer which should go great with any winter celebration, roasted bird, and classy Christmas themed jazz music... of course.