Friday, March 12, 2010

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - MAR 11, 2010
One of my favorite things about drinking beer is the moments when I try a sweet stout to top off a good dinner. A beer like Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout can sometimes be even more satisfying than a piece of chocolate cake because it’s much more complex. While I wouldn’t call this a chocolate stout per se, it definitely is one of the sweetest, creamiest stouts I’ve encountered. It’s also surprisingly lighter in body than you’d expect which makes it highly drinkable and, I think, accessible to beer drinkers of all experience levels.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. I was surprised to see this beer was a dark shade of completely opaque black (no ruby red highlights at all). It formed a thick, creamy, brown head which lasted throughout the life of the drink and left some decent lacing on the glass.

The aroma was surprisingly mild, although it did live up to its name as the most noticeable scent was indeed cream. There were faint hints of milk chocolate, but otherwise the nose was rather quiet.

TASTE

I went into Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout with a bit of an expectation, but was a little surprised by what I actually got. The thick creamy head was quite roasty-tasting, while the beer itself was very sweet not unlike a cola. In fact, it’s so sweet it actually dried out my mouth and had me craving for a sip of milk or water between each swig.

What’s weird is the beer is actually not quite as rich or intense as it may sound. There is a distinct cream and milk-like combination of flavors going on, but the overall palette is rather reserved. There is mild roasted malt flavors in the mouth, although they seem to gain strength in the aftertaste. There is only faint bitterness which I would attribute to subtle notes of chocolate.

DRINKABILITY

This brew is more reminiscent of an Irish Dry Stout with a sweeter body than a traditional milk stout. It’s actually quite light in body, but not watery like a Guinness Draught. Still, the mouthfeel itself is velvety and smooth and the aftertaste is strong and pleasing.

At 6.1% ABV Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout is the type of beer I’d rather drink on non-special occasions and probably in greater quantities than any kind of imperial stout. I think almost anyone would find this very drinkable since it’s not too intense and goes down so easily.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Special Double Cream Stout is, at the very least, a solid performer. It has everything I look for in a good beer and I think it’s the type that would appeal to pretty much anyone. I’d be surprised if it didn’t.

NOTE: I cannot comment on the price of this beer since it is not available where I live and was a gift from a friend from Michigan. However, I’d say upwards of $13 for a six-pack would be a good value.

Grade: 8/10