Anyway, it is a stout after a busy week of hard graft and little sleep. Mainly because I am lazy. Yeah, like a fox! Would you like to know more?
There's a mist over the landscape on opening this ale, deep and white and the sort of mist that promises mystery and some light horror, the one with jump scares rather than gore. Trees reach up through the murk like hands to grasp the sky and bring down the sunlight, frozen in time and thus fruitless in the winter weather. Rain has been falling, the air damp with promise and a dry chocolate aroma hovers above the thick biscuit-coloured head that forms and persists like some harbinger of what is to come. The bottle claims milk stout with salted caramel and pours as one would expect from a thick and glutinous style of stout, how I like them. Deep and dark with a hint of shortcake about it so that it's not black as pitch or dark like the abyss but a more welcoming and warm darkness like that found in velvet tops or on delectable chocolate covered treats. The head takes on a caramel aspect as I move to the living room and the more muted lights, the better to sit and slob and let the week roll off my back like water from a duck.
Burning my mouth with some gravy from the chippy (I got chips on the way back from the bottle shop and ate them rather too quickly) was not the best preparation but I can take it. A soft warmth wrapped in layers of milk chocolate texture, definite caramel on the malt in the middle melting like the centre of a Mars. Then there's the soft and gentle tongues lapping at the sides of the mouth and cheeks, so that the whole brew is intensely luxurious and, well, chocolate-like. This is not the bitter harshness of some of the ales with chocolate in them (I'm looking at you Double Chocolate Stout [click here]) nor the dry heat of chocolate fun in the Montezuma's Chocolate Lager (click here) nor even the coffee heartland of Belgian chocolate in Mocha (click here). This is softer and wetter and slippery. It sucks like thick mud, oozes into the centre of the taste, then slimes its way toward the back of the throat like the trail left by a slug, if the slug were made of the inner part of a Lindor chocolate, whereupon it teeters on the edge like the tuppennies at the slots in Blackpool and Fleetwood on holiday, then crashes down.
And yet crashes is too strong a term. It comes down, it pays off with a burst of milky textured chocolate warmth, and then is mostly gone. The 4.7% ABV seems almost weak with this brew, like it is there to provide the melting temperature for the chocolate but not a lot else. I can see this joining the stablemate of Billionaire in being a quite dangerous ale to be drinking as it fools you into thinking that it is mostly safe and not at all out to murder your sobriety. This is a little like a 7 foot clown singing a popular hit in a more 1930s style and not blinking for 3 minutes and 17 seconds. It is whimsical and amusing at first, even cheering and happy, but then you think for a moment and begin to grow disturbed. But it's the good kind of disturbed that makes you drink it again and see if the effect will be the same. That horror film that was threatened in the mist of the carbonation.
Like the music video above, I shall be coming back to this brew again and I shall be having more of it. I'm not sure if it being a pound cheaper than the Billionaire will make me buy it more, mind, as the pound is worth paying for the bigger hit. Not that this diminishes the brew, I can see me entertaining with this ale. Well, if I entertained at all. In the meantime, these brews will maintain my love of stouts and of chocolate malts for a long time yet. In the sad absence of Mocha in my locale these will serve!
Enjoy best after a meal when settling down to a dessert as the night draws in or as the sky grows too clear in summer and the day is dying. Avoid days where there is too much humidity and warmth but welcome the ones where the wind blows right through you or the frost threatens for the morning. Let the brew lull you into a false sense of security and then enjoy the lie in wrapped in the duvet on the following morning. Pure luxury!