An ale made for Valentine's Day methinks and very good for the day that follows. Would you like to know more?
An awful lot of beer-buying advice is aimed at women for their male halves. Here I would like to suggest that this ale is good for any ale drinker no matter their gender and no matter yours. It's a thick chocolate comfort blanket of an ale and thus fits the mood of the day regardless of the intended recipient.
As promised by the title the beer is dark, smooth and long. Definite whiff of carbonation on opening but not too strong and not too much. Pours well, but the head was a bit too powerful for my tastes. Despite my effort of pouring to avoid too much of a head the top third of my glass was still froth and the first sip, therefore, was mainly just the head which, while intriguing, wasn't really the best start to the beer. At 5.2% ABV it's on the stronger side of the beers I've been reviewing and drinking of late. Once I got a proper first sip the chocolate was clear in both the malt and in the overall taste. It wasn't as strong as the Triple Chocoholic from Christmas 2012 but it was very much in a similar vein.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there isn't much bittering or otherwise from hops in this stout, it focuses very much on the malt and even the carbonation didn't seem too affect this much. A dark brew with plenty of body to it - molasses play a huge part of this and the weight is what I would have expected from things like Mann's and the Oyster Stout. Very much part of the Christmas stable from this year for me, being a heavy ale with dark brooding nature.
As an accompaniment to a large take out meal with spicy meats and dry chips it held its own very well, maintaining dominion over my taste buds against pretty much all comers. Therefore I would suggest that this is a good ale to go with a meal and one that you would wish to end an evening rather than begin one. It weighs nicely alongside strong flavours and will fill your need for beer well without having to session. One I may well try again but not for a while.