Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Burnside Brewing Company - Hot Chocolate Stout

"Hot" means spicy!
I've been on a stout kick lately. There are just so many tasty variations of the style to be found in and around Stumptown right now. Jealous? You should be!

I found Burnside Brewing Company's Hot Chocolate Stout on tap at Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom the other day. If you hurry over there right now, you can have some, too! Here's what Burnside Brewing has to say about this 6.1% ABV, 42 IBU beer:

"A chocolate and habenero chile infused ale crafted in collaboration with local artisan woodblock chocolates. This "bean to beer project" is a blend of cocoa nibs from Madagascar, Ecuador and Trinidad. 10 gallons of semi sweet chocolate was poured into the kettle warm and freshly blended after an addition of ten pounds of nibs was infused with the mash. We then conditioned the beer on slightly roasted habenero peppers to create a delicate balance of cocoa and spice. You will experience a hint of heat finishing with a distinct cocoa flavor."

Sounds awesome, right? Am I right?

The beer was presented in a 12 oz. tulip glass a deep, dark brown--almost black--color. The mocha colored head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. It sure was a pretty beer. Too bad I can never get my camera fired up fast enough to get a picture of a perfect head. Dang it!

Aroma was cocoa, coffee and sweet, spicy chiles. I'm a chilehead, so I recognized the slightly citrus, tropical pungency of habaneros right away.

Taste followed the nose. Bitter dark chocolate with espresso notes. Over-ripe, dark fruit. Just a touch of chile heat in the mix. Perfect. More often than not, chile beers are just stupid hot and the flavor of the peppers get lost in the mix. Not so with this brew. The chile flavor remained in the background and then sneaked up on my taste buds. Bam!

Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. Smooth finish with the mildly bitter cocoa and spicy chile providing a very complimentary play on the palate at the end.

If you're not a chile beer fan, you should definitely try Hot Chocolate Stout. It will likely change your mind. If you LOVE chile beers, you must try it. MUST. I'm giving Hot Chocolate Stout a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


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