4.1AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Breweries that try their hand at chocolate beers walk a very fine line between genuine craft beer and gimmicks. In fact, some chocolate beer’s gimmick is their supposed craftsmanship. This is not true of Fort Collins Chocolate Stout as it has all the makings of a high quality beer with the addition of a great chocolate taste instead of vice versa.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
This beer poured extremely smooth to a dark, seemingly opaque black body (which is actually dark ruby red). The body was rather tepid with little to no carbonation noticeable and only a small, soapy, light brown head. There wasn’t much chocolate noticeable in the nose, but an aroma of roasted malts which is typical of high-end stouts.
Oftentimes, the first thing I notice about a chocolate beer is, not surprisingly, the chocolate flavor. However, upon my first swig of Fort Collins Chocolate Stout, the first thing I noticed was an intense hoppy composition. As fan of hoppy beers such as India Pale Ales, this was very pleasantly surprising. This beer has a surprising strong hop bite and a bitterness to match.
The chocolate here is much more noticeable in the finish than the initial approach. Many chocolate beers tend to have chalky character, reminiscent of confectioner’s sugar, but Fort Collins has a delicious palate of sweet, dark chocolate without any kind of sugary or gimmicky taste. The subtle chocolate taste compliments the hop character well, so as to make this a very robust beer. Dark roasted malts are also evident, which balances the beer perfectly.
For such a hoppy brew, Fort Collins Chocolate Stout is ridiculously smooth. It has a gentle mouthfeel that’s as soft as a pillow and finishes just as comfortably. This is probably due to the well-balanced palate and the surprisingly thin body. The only caveat is the beer leaves a dry aftertaste, which is a small price to pay for an otherwise outstanding performer.
It never ceases to amaze me at just how heavy stouts like this are not. At only 5.3% ABV, Fort Collins Chocolate Stout is nowhere close to being an imperial beer. I’d venture to guess it’s a little heavy in calories and carbs, though (but I couldn’t find the numbers to back up this claim). From my experience, it certainly doesn’t feel like a hefty beer and I could see myself (or any beer drinker) going through many bottles of this quickly and easily.
Whenever I have a beer that is as great Fort Collins Chocolate Stout, I often wonder why brewers even bother to make anything else. It’s beer like these that make craft beer a very worthy pursuit.