Monday, March 31, 2014

The Bruery Chocolate Rain (2013 vintage)


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1074) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 30, 2014
I split a 750ml with five friends. I poured my share into a snifter. It was bottled on 12/5/13 and sent to me in a trade (thanks, Christopher!).

Appearance: Dark brown proper with blood red highlights. Pours to a tiny, tan, soapy head which fizzles away and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Not quite as aromatic as expected. Barrel character, vanilla and strong alcohol presence.

Taste: The Bruery’s “Chocolate Rain” is a variation of their “Black Tuesday” imperial stout. The difference being this brew is aged on cacao nibs and vanilla beans. I was a little apprehensive going into this beer as I found Black Tuesday to be cloyingly sweet – imagine that beer with added chocolate and vanilla notes. I was surprised to find the opposite to be true – Chocolate Rain was actually less sweet and more balanced, though the flavor wasn’t quite as appetizing (but still tasted great).

I guess it goes without saying that the palette here is pretty similar to Black Tuesday. A strong presence of vanilla, wood, grape, plum and cherry are present from start to finish. Ironically enough, I didn’t get a lot of chocolate flavor per se, though I don’t think this is intended to be taken as a chocolate-flavored beer despite its name. Bitterness is low, though the overall sweetness is low, too. The alcohol is a major component of the palette and it works quite well. A bit of nutty or earthy character on the back end, though not much roasted malt flavor. Overall, a tasty, interesting palette, and definitely one of the best extreme beers I’ve had.

Drinkability: I was surprised to see that Chocolate Rain is 18.5% ABV, just a little lighter than Black Tuesday. The alcohol makes up a bigger part of the palette here, imparting warmth throughout – not just on the finish. Regardless, it’s tame and not harsh, hot or slick. The mouthfeel itself is calm and comfortable with a smooth finish and relatively clean aftertaste (I was expecting a sticky, syrupy body). An interesting and impressive beer best enjoyed as a novelty and shared with friends on a special occasion. 
Grade: 9/10