It’s that wonderful time of the year when we begin seeing the winter seasonal beer; our favorite beer season. Dark, malty, sweet, spicy – so many awesome flavors to pair with everything from pre-dinner cheese to the last course of dessert. Tasty.
Up on deck this evening is another fun beer from our friends at Starr Hill Brewery, their Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout. Now, we’ve had beer like this before – as far as the name goes anyway – and they seem to be more miss than hit. Sometimes the cherry flavor can overpower and the beer almost becomes too sweet, almost cloying. Let’s see how this one plays out.
This one pours dark, just like a stout should, a mild head with nice coffee color. On the nose, chocolate is definitely present, cocoa nibs perhaps and some nice roasty tones. I want to say I smell a little bit of cherry but I’m not 100% certain it’s not my head associating the name with what I think I should be smelling. On the tongue the sweetness from the nose continues, chocolate is strong with this one with just the right amount of cherry sweetness – not overpowering, not cloying but pleasant. At 9.0% ABV this is a nice sipping beer for those cold winter nights. Santa might even appreciate one of these along with cookies in lieu of milk this year, just saying.
Final snobs: Yep, this is a good one and as far as cherry stouts go, chocolate or otherwise, definitely a thumbs up from this snob. I’d also throw it out there for the gang at Starr Hill, got any bourbon barrels laying around? A BBA version might be worth a shot. UPDATE: they are WAY ahead of me and already have this one licked!