4.3AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Chocolate beers are a seemingly fool-proof product. Really, what’s not to like? Sometimes I feel I’m doing my readers a disservice by rating the majority I try so highly, but each seems to be better than the next. In the case of Aphrodite the Montreal-based microbrewery Dieu Du Ciel has created a beer that absolutely lives up its reputation (ranked in the 100th percentile on ratebeer.com and graded an “A” overall on beeradvocate.com). While I wouldn’t say it’s the best chocolate stout ever made, I do think it’s an absolutely outstanding beer for all the right reasons.
NOTE: This beer is also and better known as “Aprhodisiaque” or “Aphrodisiac”. It goes by the name of “Aphrodite” in the United States due to FDA regulations (or so I’m told).
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
Would it surprise you if I told you this beer pours to an opaque black body? While many stouts appear to be black they are actually dark ruby red, but Aphrodite does not have even the faintest trace of a red outline even when held up to direct light.
It forms a large, foamy, brown head which lasts throughout the life of the beer and leaves generous lacing on the glass. The aroma is surprisingly mild with a general malty scent, although chocolate is noticeable.
Dieu Du Ciel describes Aphrodite as a “cocoa and vanilla stout,” which is already very intriguing before even tasting it. Sure there are plenty of stouts which describe themselves as “chocolate” but this beer intends to be a little more complex.
It was apparent to me from the first sip that was indeed true. The head itself is rich, sweet and chocolaty and once the beer itself hit me I was in love with it. Immediately my palate is saturated with a rich milk chocolate-like flavor followed by a lightly roasted malt finish. There is a distinct, but fairly mild bitterness in the aftertaste. Unlike a baker’s chocolate aftertaste in other chocolate stouts this beer is noticeable sweeter – most likely due to the usage of vanilla bean in the recipe.
Aphrodite is not, to my knowledge, oak-aged, but there is a distinct earthiness to the finish. This could be explained by the fact the brewery lists bourbon among the notable flavors to the palate. this taste becomes more noticeable as the beer warms and because this is not an imperial brew, it’s actually quite inviting.
I never consider mouthfeel and drinkability all that important when it comes to beer-judging until I drink a beer as enjoyable as Aphrodite. Not only is the palate delicious, but the actual process of drinking it is a pleasure as well. For a carbonated beer this drinks like a nitrogen-charged brew with a thick, creamy texture and a velvety finish. In fact, it’s so tasty and so smooth it was a challenge for me to not slug it down.
At 6.5% ABV this is a perfectly-proportional beer. It’s not trying to “show off” the way a lot of imperial stouts do, but it’s got the gusto the pedestrian, session stouts lack. Because this is indeed intended to be a dessert beer I think it works perfectly as a one-and-done serving (it’s like chocolate cake – one piece is great but you probably wouldn’t want to eat many slices in a row, right?).
Thanks to the ever-growing craft beer industry, this great beer has finally been released to American markets. However, considering Dieu Du Ciel’s fairly small size I expect its distribution to be rather limited. I paid $6.29 for one 12oz bottle of Aphrodite, but it was well worth it. While that may seem pricey, trust me, you’ll know it was worth it if you’re able to get it.