Monday, April 2, 2012

The Becca: Imperial Chocolate Stout w/ Cherries & Chipotle

The Becca: Smokin' Hot Mother of A Stout.  I got the idea to brew a beer to name after my wife, a complex, deep, rich beer to ponder, as the back of the label reads:

Gaze upon her beauty ever so longingly, be captivated by her sparkle, stand in awe of her mystery.  You would not think that she had the fortitude to withstand the years, yet with a strength that causes many to wonder at her power.  So dark that you would think her bracing, and with a gracious smoothness that drives one to ponder her infinite depths, the complexity and richness of who she is --- truly a sweet heart.

Great Western Pale Malt, Crisp Pale Chocolate, Black Patent, C75, Carafa III, C136/165, Cherry Wood Smoke Malt, Zeus hops, Chipotle pepper, 3.75# Sweet Cherries, 61 IBUs, 10.6% ABV.

Appearance:  Pours like oil, jet black, 1 finger dense brownish tan head that fades slow to a thick cap, leaving behind spotty lacing and nice legs.  The head has a slight rose-ish tint to it on the edges from the cherries.

Aroma:  Smells of dark chocolate, espresso, cherry, big sweet caramel, plums, burnt raisins, toast, deep dark fruits, baking cocoa, hints of smoke and spices, touch of alcohol as it warms.

Taste:  Flavors pop with chocolate cake, cherries, plums, burnt toast, slightly spicy, hint of smoke, bready, touch of coffee beans, big caramel presence.  Drinks like a black barley wine with hints of cocoa and smoke, roast is light and could stand to show more presence.

Mouthfeel:  A warming finish but not boozy, big, chewy, sweet yet semi dry finish, slick, light carbonation, coats the tongue and throat and leaves them covered.  Bitterness is in the background and balances the beer to keep it from being cloying, but doesn’t assault you.

Overall:  Very impressive Imperial Stout, and way too drinkable for 10.6% at only 4 months.  Deep, black, thick, sweet yet not cloying, mild roastiness, big fruits, chocolate.  The spiciness and smokiness of the Chipotle are hinting at their presence, as is the Carafa III bringing in a touch of coffee.  The cherry lets you know that it is there, but you wonder if it is malt & yeast or fruit.  It could stand to be a little more bitter to help balance it out, and a touch of roast barley or more black malt for a little more roast character and to help dry the finish out and leave you wanting more.  Looking forward to how this beer ages (especially since it had the last pitch of the dreaded infected batches).

And as an added bonus, it makes a killer addition to chocolate cake!

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