Sunday, January 27, 2013

Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout

There are many different ways to brew a "chocolate" beer: with chocolate malt and/or wheat; cocoa beans, cocoa powder; or even actual chocolate candy. Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout is made with the first two and it really shows. Though it has the classic chocolate flavor we’re used to, it’s a bit more spicy and zesty, while still remaining an otherwise mild mannered traditional stout.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (799) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 27, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a stout glass. It cost $4.45 ($0.37 per ounce).

Appearance: Seemingly opaque black color. Forms a large, tan, frothy head which leaves plenty of lacing and retains well.

Smell: Distinct cocoa powder or other chocolate-like flavoring. Traditional stout aroma at the base.

Taste: The first thing I noticed about Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout is the presence of cocoa bean spice. Usually, a chocolate beer tends to taste like liquid candy, and while this beer definitely is sweet, it’s using the cocoa beans for their liveliness. There’s a gentle vibration across the tongue as roasted malt slithers across it. There seems to be added sugar or vanilla flavoring to balance out the cocoa and impart a bit of candy-like flavor. A gentle bitterness through the middle, followed by a somewhat strange taste of perfume or soap. There’s more classic chocolate on the finish followed by a moderately dry, but mostly clean aftertaste.

While this does make a good dessert beer, it’s not one you’re likely going to be used to. That’s okay, because I really appreciate the originality.

Drinkability: The body to Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout is exactly what I expect in a British stout. Fully flavored, but still restrained and nuanced. A good level of carbonation with a relatively soft texture and comfortable mouthfeel that goes down smooth. At only 5% ABV this beer is extremely efficient, but still light enough to enjoy multiple servings.
 Grade: 8/10

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