Saturday, December 14, 2013

Southern Tier Choklat 2013

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Chad9976 (1022) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 13, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into the official Southern Tier Choklat goblet. It was bottled on 11/11/13 and cost $9.49 ($0.43 per ounce)

Appearance: Dark, opaque black body. No visible carbonation. Pours to a relatively large, dark tan, frothy head which manages to lace and retain well for an imperial stout.

Smell: Pure gourmet dark chocolate, though it does have a bit of a Tootsie Roll aroma as well. Faint traces of alcohol, too.

Taste: When people ask me what my all-time favorite beer, I sometimes say Southern Tier Choklat. That’s probably because I love sweets and this beer has always tasted like liquid chocolate candy to me. I buy it every year and enjoy each year as much as the first time I had it. The recipe has stayed essentially the same since 2009 when I first discovered it (though it uses Chinook hops this year instead of Magnum, and the ABV is 10% instead of 11%). This might not be the single greatest vintage of this brew, but it’s still an outstanding beer.

How to describe the palette? It’s simply really: the beer is a liquid gourmet chocolate bar. That shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s brewed with bittersweet Belgian chocolate as well as chocolate malt. From first to last sip there’s a consistent presence of dark chocolate - an interesting dynamic of both sweetness and bitterness. There’s no milky or buttery flavors, and the malt character really stands on its own to lay the foundation for the liquid candy taste. What’s odd this time around is there seems to be a slight mint or other herbal/earthy/grassy character. This could be from the different hops used or it could be the alcohol itself. It’s an interesting spice-like addition to the palette, though I prefer previous editions a tad better. Regardless, the beer is still as delicious and enjoyable as its always been and I highly recommend picking up at least one bottle per season.

Drinkability: A beer like Southern Tier Choklat tends to be reserved for special occasions because it’s such a big deal beer. Indeed, at 10% ABV and with this robust, rich, delicious palette it would seem to be best enjoyed at the holidays instead of say, an ordinary Tuesday night. But if you were to drink it without any accompaniment you’d be fine because the beer is a delight to drink. The mouthfeel is soft with a smooth texture that’s literally comforting to the palate. There’s just a hint of alcohol warmth, so it is not a boozy, obese, intimidating beer in any way. It finishes remarkably clean with just a slight bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. Drinkers of all experience levels should be able to handle an entire bottle solo no problem. 
Grade: 10/10
My video review of the 2009 edition:
My text review of the 2009 edition:

My video review of the 2010 edition:
My text review of the 2010 edition:

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