I've had this before, but it was a very long time ago. A good colleague of mine gave me this one as a gift and so it follows that I would have it and review it - and today has been lovely and warm so it seemed fitting to have it in my garden. I am, of course, referring to Young's Double Chocolate Stout and that's always a good thing. Stout. And chocolate. I am also going to be watching Starship Troopers because it is a good film and the source of my little in-jokes when I get round to using them.
Ahem, let's get on with business shall we? Would you like to know more?
This pours as you would expect, dark and thick with a massive head that rapidly expands past the point of sustainability and collapses in on itself. An aroma lifts from the glass into the summer's air, mingling with the gentle scent of radish and peas hanging in the moisture rising from the recent warming - an aroma that is thick and sweet and warm - chocolate. This definitely has a chocolate air to it, a dry and bitter tang rather the deep luxury of, say, Montezuma's Chocolate Lager (here) which is very much the king of chocolate brewing. Still, there's no dishonour here, this is a decent scent and the bitter tang holds some promise of thirst-quenching qualities in the future.
Indeed, so the taste is very much as the smell would suggest - there is a chocoloate on the front, though it lacks the strength of that scent - and this gives way to a deep malt with a bitter hop tang, still having the memory of the chocolate. It's not so much a dark chocolate, though the bitterness is very much there still, and hints at the sort of dusting that surrounds a truffle. In many ways it sort of is, the malt and the fizz allow for a creamy sort of texture to this bottled ale. Deep and stout-like, and that easily beats the chocolate in the taste, so that this behaves more like a winter than a summer ale, though the consistency does seem more like a golden ale.
It is enjoyable and quite welcome on the evening. It's been a long week at work (not much to do, per se, but plenty to keep my mind occupied and so I welcome the opportunity to let a 5.2% ABV chocolate front-loaded stout do the dirty. Good, thick, uncomplicated and a decent chocolate ale. Not the best of the ones I've tried but that's not a mark against it, well worth a try and well worth paying top price for. I have to say it's grown on me a bit since the last time I tried it, or, perhaps, I'm just a bit more of an ale-drinker rather than a boring lightweight! Okay, no, the blog proves I'm still a tad boring but you can't have everything.
Enjoy this best in the deepening of the autumn, just before the Christmas season but sometime after the bitter cold of bonfire night. Wait until the toffee has stopped being brittle, the parkin has started being served and treacle is being used with honey on the sort of moist cough that heralds the start of the winter proper. Take a moment in the dark to light a few candles, snuggle 'neath a blanket with people you love and sip gently before retiring to bed.