Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Black Beerd Tasting

Reviewed 12/11/12

This is an over the topbeer. Not because it is extremely big or small or sweet or bitter, but because it is so damn chocolaty. Like brownies or fudge. It is a totally decent beer under the excessive chocolate, and I like everything going on with it, but it is dominated by the cocoa powder and vanilla. The Notty yeast was an unconventional choice that worked wonderfully at letting the rest of the beer shine through it’s clean fermentation, the golden naked oats are super rad, and the lack of crystal proved to be a smart move. Basically, this is just what I was looking for from the recipe save one major detail: the use of Black Patent malt instead of the intended Black Roasted Barley made for a SUPER mellow roast character. The body is there, the depth and warmth, the rich chocolate, the thick wooly body, all there but not that rich bunt-roast I love in stouts. Oh well, it is still plenty “stout,” and now I know for next time.
Appearance: Totally opaque black/ brown with a roasted marshmallow tan head. Soap-suds like lacing and the head never really falls. Dessert!
Smell: Chocolate. Sweet floral vanilla, some sweet malt and a hint of yeast. The vanilla and chocolate are overpowering, but is that really a bad thing? There is nice roastyness in the background, along with oatmeal graininess and some dark berry notes.
 Taste: Silky smooth palate with a hint of roast, super chocolaty, with an aromatic sweetness from the vanilla in the finish. This is not a sticky or malty beer, but it is very creamy. Basically, it tastes like double chocolate ice cream--You know…the chocolate kind with chocolate chunks and chocolate swirls. Did I say chocolate? It is not boozy, which I think goes well with the velvety body provided by the oats (to me boozy only really compliments beers that have a caramel sweetness which needs to be cut-through). It tastes sweet, but it is not syrupy or sugary. The hops do the trick of balancing by providing a nice resinous counter-point to the creamy sweet body, but I think the ridiculously desert-like personality of this one would be even more over the top if it were virtually hop-less and balanced instead with bitterness from more burnt/roasted malt. Or maybe some coffee.

Mouthfeel: In case you didn’t pick it up from the above, this beer is creamy. Smooth, thick, and creamy. Carbonation is light but foamy (read as: not prickly). Finish is a bit chalky from the cocoa powder and slightly bitter. Minimal residual sweetness.
Overall: Surprisingly good for such a silly beer. I like it, and so has everyone else so far. More roast and a ballsier yeast would make it better.

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