Ill Repute by 4 Hands Brewing

It’s been a while, yes, but I’m still alive. I’ve been working at Bay Cannon Brewing Company in West Tampa since they opened the first weekend in August. What a fantastic ride it’s been! I think I’ll do some posts on the brewery, just to kind of get it out there a bit more. I haven’t decided if I will review the beer, but I’m leaning toward it because the beer is just so damn good. Am I biased? I can be, but I do have integrity. If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you. Now, let’s get back to the beer at the center of this blog post…

Ill Repute has been at the back of my fridge for nearly a year. However, it seems a perfect time to pop this one due to the fall season being upon us. Originally, this stout was brewed for Schnucks Markets and was only available at their St. Louis area locations. We bought several bottles the first year it came out and held on to them for over a year. Fresh, the beer was pretty good. However, we found that after aging it a year, it was better.

img_2895But then 4 Hands skipped this beer the following year and we thought it was gone for good. However, last October when my mother-in-law and I went to the Game of Thrones Experience in St. Louis (I was a stand-in for my wife, who had already moved to Florida), we stopped at 4 Hands. I had already heard that they had re-released Ill Repute and was mandated by my wife to get a couple bottles.

Kevin Lemp, the owner of 4 Hands, is such a nice guy and quick to make conversation with anyone. We’ve always enjoyed talking to Kevin about beer and the direction of 4 Hands. I mentioned that we were moving to Florida, and he gave me a bottle of a beer they were releasing the next day. Such a stand up dude, and the gesture was much appreciated.

Ill Repute, as I mentioned earlier, “is an exclusive project brewed in collaboration with Schnucks Markets. This imperial stout is brewed with pumpkin, vanilla and spice.” So, yes, this is probably my only pumpkin stout of the season.

I’ve had several pumpkin beers through the years like Pumking and Warlock by Southern Tier, Pumpkinhead by Shipyard, Pumpkin Ale by Schlafly, Night Owl by Elysian, Ichabod by New Holland, Fall Hornin’ by Anderson Valley and Pumpkin Down by Ballast Point to name more than a few. My wife has been kind of obsessed with a good pumpkin/yam/sweet potato beer over the years, like Morning Glory (RIP) by 4 Hands. So, yeah, we’ve had our share of this style.

Pumpkin beers are kind of polarizing. It seems people either love them or hate them. Me? I’d rather have a more traditional fall beer, like a good Märzen, than a pumpkin beer. But, Ill Repute is a stout so I’m always inclined to check it out.

Ill Repute pours coffee black with a thin caramel-colored head. I’ve let it warm a bit and poured a bit more into the snifter, and the head is quite a bit creamier. It dissipates quickly to a thin ring around the inside of the glass. Aroma is sweet, with notes of nutmeg and vanilla. Immediately, I’m digging this on the nose. Swirling the beer reinvigorates that creamy head briefly.

This bottle has been in my fridge for roughly 11 months so I’m figuring it’s fallen off a bit on taste. I don’t get any vanilla on the palate nor do I get much pumpkin. However, since it has been in the fridge and cold for 11 months, I’m not terribly surprised. However, there’s still a lot of flavor on this one. The nutmeg is extremely prevalent here and dominates the palate. It’s sweet one moment and bitter the next. Ill Repute has a medium mouthfeel and is borderline creamy on the tongue. To be honest, it tastes very similar to what I had on draft in the tap room last October, which is quite impressive!

Now that it’s a lot warmer, the beer really smells like a pumpkin pie. It’s got that nice vanilla/spicy goodness. I didn’t have a lot of high hopes for this one, but Ill Repute surprised me with how well it’s held up over time. 4 Hands kind of fell off for me toward the latter couple years I was in St. Louis, but this beer shows that they can really dial it in and do something very well.  If you’re in St. Louis, check these guys out. I was going there in 2013 when they had a dozen employees. Now, they’re well over 60. They’re growing exponentially. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not. If I’m ever back in the area, I’ll be sure to stop in and tell Kevin hello. Cheers!

Beer Stats

  • ABV:  8.5%
  • IBU:  n/a
  • Untappd Rating (2018 version):  3.80
  • # of Ratings:  207

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