Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus!

4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1214) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 11, 2014
Flavored stouts and porters have been around for years, which chocolate and coffee usually being the most popular flavors. But why hasn’t anyone tried making one with peanut butter flavoring? After all, the natural chocolate flavors from a dark beer would seem to be a perfect complement for peanut butter. If it has been done before I’m not aware of any other than DuClaw’s “Sweet Baby Jesus!” It delivers exactly as promised, and is exactly what I want a dessert beer to be.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 6/10/14 and was given to me by friends (thanks, Alex and Marissa!).

Appearance: Dark shade of mahogany/brown, mostly opaque. Pours to an average-sized, tan, foamy head which never dissipates and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Almost exactly the aroma of chocolate and peanut butter candy. Very enticing.

Taste: This beer is a robust porter at the core, and it definitely shows immediately with strong notes of dark malt, roasted barley, a hint of coffee and perhaps burnt toast. There’s a dry bitterness through the middle, but transitions to a sweetness on a hairpin turn with strong milk chocolate flavors. The finish is the best part as an authentic peanut butter flavor emerges to make for a delicious candy-like palette. The label indicates the beer is brewed with “artificial flavors,” which probably means that peanut butter character is simply a flavoring concentrate, but it’s still impressive since it tastes like the real deal and nothing faux (like so many fruit-flavored beers, I might add). Perhaps it’s a bit unbalanced since the peanut butter component distracts from the robust porter base, but that’s a flaw I can tolerate.

Drinkability: While I would describe the overall palette of DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus! as potent, I would not describe it as sickly sweet or cloying (unlike some of those gigantic imperial stouts). At only 6.5% ABV, this is much more approachable and easy-drinking than you’d think. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner and calmer than I’d prefer, though it is remarkably smooth. So much so that it’s difficult to not gulp it all down quickly. It leaves a slightly dry, bitter aftertaste, but it fades clean eventually. A perfect liquid dessert in a bottle. 
Grade: 10/10