Saturday, July 25, 2015

Southern Tier Choklat Oranj

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (1414) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 25, 2015
If you know me you know Southern Tier Choklat is one of my all-time favorite beers (maybe tied with Founders KBS for the #1 slot). This year, they released a variation brew, made with orange peel called Choklat Oranj. I’ve had this both on tap and the bottle – I liked the draught version better, but the bottle is still pretty impressive.

I poured a 22oz bottle into the official Southern Tier Choklat snifter. The freshness date was illegible and it cost $9.49 ($0.43 per ounce).

Appearance: Opaque black body; no visible activity inside. Pours to a thumb-width, brown, foamy head which dissipates completely and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Huge milk chocolate and syrup aroma. Very sweet like a gourmet chocolate bar with a high percentage of cocoa. The orangepeel comes through as a more floral/herbal scent than citrusy. Odd.

Taste: Chocolate and orange are two flavors that indeed go together, it’s just that you don’t see them paired up too often (a Black IPA made with Amarillo hops, for example). Regular Choklat is such an excellent beer, would adding orange to it actual improve it? Well, no; but it does make it interesting and unique to say the least. Chocolate is, not surprisingly, the dominate flavor throughout this palette: rich, sweet milk chocolate as opposed to bitter dark chocolate. The orange is noticeable at first, though it’s subtle. It imparts a light spicy taste on the first half and then jumps out on the second half. What’s strange is that the orangepeel comes across as a slightly mint flavor rather than actual orange fruit or juice. There’s a fair amount of bitterness here so as to keep the palette well-balanced. Unfortunately, Southern Tier doesn’t list the specific malts and hops they used in the brew, but I would be curious to know what they are. All in all it’s a delectable brew, but not an improvement over the original.

Drinkability: Drinking a bomber of a 10% ABV beer in the middle of the summer can be challenging. Thankfully, I was able to get through all 22oz of Southern Tier Choklat Oranj without problem. Like any good imperial stout the mouthfeel is noticeably thick, slightly tepid, but in no way oily. There is a minor citrus acid character that’s accentuated by the alcohol. It leaves a bit of a dry aftertaste, but it’s quite tolerable.

NOTE: Per the recommendation on the brewery’s website, I scooped a bit of vanilla ice cream into my goblet to try a float. The beer seemed a bit more orange-flavored as the ice cream offset the chocolate. Eating the ice cream with a spoon out of the glass gave it a bit of a chocolate syrup flavor. A fun little experiment, but I wouldn’t recommend trying this with an entire glass of beer. Score: 9/10

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