kills me when breweries can’t make a killer dessert beer. A chocolate
stout should be fairly idiot-proof (I know, I’ve homebrewed a bunch of
them – they’re easy). So why is Shiner Birthday Beer only okay? Probably
because it’s made by a macro brewery and they’re targeting a macro
audience. This is quite mild even for a flavored stout and those just
starting out with craft beer will probably find it robust, but veteran
drinkers like me will find it only okay.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Brownish/black color with some red highlights. Initially
pours to a large, tan, foamy head but it almost completely dissipates
and leaves little to no lacing.
Smell: Almost identical to German chocolate cake with hints of cherry puree and coconut.
Taste: Judging by the smell, I was assuming (and hoping) this beer would
be liquid chocolate cake. It’s closer to a generic pub-style stout with
some faux chocolate flavoring and a cherry/raspberry character. The
brewery’s website indicates it’s made with chocolate malt and real
cocoa, but I’m sure there’s plenty of natural and/or artificial flavors
that went into this. It has a slightly oily character, perhaps that’s
cocoa butter or maybe diacetyl or it’s just from the ingredients used.
It’s akin to generic candy made from milk chocolate, but nowhere near as
rich and tasty as an actual slice of German chocolate cake. I do enjoy
the cherry/raspberry flavor lurking in the backend, though. Whether
that’s from real fruit or an added flavoring or just from the malts I do
not know. Overall, it’s a fine tasting beer but not as good as I could
Drinkability: Another reason this beer is a little disappointing is due
to the surprisingly thin and virtually flat mouthfeel. It’s only 5% ABV
so it shouldn’t be a beefy, full-bodied brew. Still, it should feel like
old soda in the mouth and there should be a bit more of an aftertaste
than this. On the other hand, it’s easily drinkable – almost
ridiculously so. Another advantage for newbies.