Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (2013 re-review)

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (843) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 2, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. The bottle was dated 11/26/12 making it just over four months old.

Appearance: Dark black color, completely opaque. Forms a huge, brown, frothy head which is slow to dissolve and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Mild nose of milk chocolate and black licorice.

Taste: I’m so used to reviewing flavored and/or imperial stouts I forget how good a "regular" or stout can be. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout is definitely one of the better examples of such a brew: plenty of flavor and a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness. There’s a slight licorice taste to make it a tad unique, which is all the more appreciable.

There’s a smooth sweetness at the start. Mild milk chocolate, roasted malt and some dairy flavors are all prominent at first. There’s a strong surge of bitterness at the apex of the swig. Dry, slightly salty, coffee and nutty-like flavors and bitterness appear, though they themselves quickly recede as a lightly sweet taste of black licorice and the faintest hint of sour red grape appear on the finish. This is a delectable tasting brew for sure, but not so robust or amazing as to be among the upper echelon beers.

Drinkability: What really makes Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout a cut above the rest is its drinkability. There’s a lot of flavor here, but the actually deliver is remarkably drinker-friendly. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft and goes down easily. Though there’s a slightly bitter aftertaste it’s nowhere near cloying and is actually rather pleasant. At 6% ABV it’s tempting to drink in large quantities since it doesn’t feel like a heavy beer at all. The versatility makes it ideal to pair with food, as a stand-alone beverage, or a dessert in a glass. You decide. 
Grade: 8/10