I must say, this beer is already at a dissavantage in that my hopes and expectations are riding pretty high. I have had a dozen Souther Tier offerings over the last few yeare and have loved all but a few of them. The Pumking, Jah-Va, Imperial Oat and Creme Brule Stout, all were fantastic.
Picked this up yesterday at Brewforia’s new Meridian, ID location and it’s label claims to be simply “A Stout Brewed with Chocolate”
While I respect craft beer, I still find it a bit pretentious when I notice a blurb on the lable telling me how cold or warm it should be when served. The reputation that this brewer has with my tastebuds, demands compliance however. Turns out, Iam about 5 degrees over the RST. Deep brown/black with a lively and disappointingly short-lived, tan head. This quickly settles out to just a thin ring around the circumference of my snifter.
Aroma is unlike anything I can remember. My first thought is of Tootsie Roll-Liqueur or Fudge Brownies and Kahlua. But the tootsie-roll thing keeps coming back. I can even imagine the wax paper wrapper they come in. Or used to anyway. Whatever classic dark roasted aromas that are otherwise common for an Imperial Stout are pretty much sacked by the sweet chocolate and subtle mocha notes.
At 11% ABV the “burn” does cut through a bit, but it’s not too much and goes well with the bold roast and chocolate. After a few sips, the smooth roasted, slightly charcoal flavors are really working well with the bittersweet chocolate. It smelled like it was going to be biting off a chunk of Toblerone, but this is nice. As it warms up a bit more I can taste vanilla, hazelnuts and a bit of leather tag-teaming my taste buds. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would be a great match for this.
The label says 27 degrees Plato. This translates to an original gravity of about 1.135 ! ! and if my calculations are correct, and they sometimes are, the claimed ABV of 11% means the final gravity of this thing is about 1.035. That is quite a bit of residual sugars. But I suppose if it was not sweet enough, the chocolate thing just wouldn’t fly. Even still, the feel is smooth, almost silky, but not very heavy. The rather soft carbonation is just right for this brew and the late lingering bitterness is a touch sharp, but not hoppy. More like bitter chocolate or a little espresso.
Well done, Southern Tier. Not my favorite of theirs, but that claim would be a tough nut to crack as their line up, as I mentioned earlier, is terrific. At $10 for this 22oz bottle, I am glad that I won’t be buying it again soon, but even gladder that I got to have it tonight. A great way to cap a Friday night and kick-off the weekend.