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
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
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.