Sunday, October 3, 2010
Mini Stout Roundup: If It's Brown, Drink It Down; If It's Black, Knock One Back
Beer: Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
Brewery: Southern Tier (Lakewood, NY)
Type: Double Imperial Stout
Putting Southern Tiers brews into regular rotation has been one thing the LCBO has certainly done right. This New York brewer has put forward some remarkable brews from a variety of different beer genres. I've given mad Beer Den love to their IPA and Raspberry Porter before. Like many a great craft brewery, Southern Tier also delights in experimentation, offering up unique beers that push the boundaries of what one could potentially brew. Last year, I had the pleasure of trying their Creme Brulee Stout, a stout that, naturally, tasted a great deal like a creme brulee. Never tasted anything quite like it. To be fair, it's not something I'll probably get again, but I certainly enjoyed trying it. Choklat is another of these brews that, however well made, I probably won't pick up too often, save for on special occasions when I feel like sharing an after-dinner dessert beer with folks. I'm happy to try it, but it's just not necessarily a flavour of beer I want regularly, especially on nights when I feel like getting silly.
Poured into a Duvel chalice. An inky black brew (even when held to the light, all I can detect is black), with a thin tan head that dissolves into a fine ring. Some lacing when I swirl the brew around a bit.
Nose is rich, milky chocolate, very delectable. Almost like chocolate syrup or an Aero Bar. Hard to detect anything else, but frankly, I don't care. The chocolate smells that damned good.
Despite such a sweet-smelling nose (and bearing in mind the super-sweet concoction of their Creme Brulee stout), I was surprised as to how sharp the chocolate was in this brew. Not bitter, mind you, but certainly not sweet milk chocolate. Much more in tune with the Mexican chocolate featured on the label. Probably something around the 65%-80% cocoa range. Big flavor burst here of both the chocolate and some coffee/roasted malts, with delightful warming alcohol taste to the finish. My mouth is well-coated in bitter chocolaty goodness, which lingers for quite some time. A great evening brew for the first frost of the season!
Rich and hearty, Choklat has a thick, velvety mouthfeel, with light but detectable carbonation. Certainly a slow sipping beer.
Well worth the pickup, despite the price (nearly ten bucks for a 650mL bottle). A great stout, neither too bitter nor too cloyingly sweet. A heartier, stronger version of Young's Double Chocolate Stout, to offer a bit of perspective. Certainly a well-made brew, although not one I'd return to regularly. Despite the delicious flavors here, I'm having a bit of trouble finishing Choklat because it is so incredibly rich. I'd advise that folks share a bottle after dinner with friends, because an entire bottle is pretty heavy for one person.
Great work by Southern Tier. (Grade: A-)