I don’t usually limit this blog to just one beer, there’s just too much to choose from, but this one caught my attention and well there is a lot to talk about.
The beer? Black Chocolate Stout, a seasonal release from Brooklyn Brewery. This ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ has made its way across the water once again, and it’s one I look forward to each year.
First a little history lesson… In the early 18th century, Anchor Brewery in London began exporting their stout to Russia. The first shipment seemingly didn’t survive the voyage, the second attempt, with higher alcohol and bitterness quickly gained popularity. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, was reportedly one such fan of the style. Hence the name adopted by the Anchor brewery, Russian Imperial Stout. The name stuck for this rich, dark and boozy take on stout.
Brooklyn are laying down a marker for this Black Chocolate Stout by calling it a Russian Imperial, a stout that leans heavily on the hops and alcohol content, but you have to have plenty of malt to back it up.
I think they’ve nailed. The aroma is upfront rich dark chocolate with hints of coffee and dark dried fruit. The body is velvety smooth, its drinkability aided by low, soft carbonation while the high alcohol content is noticeable more in the viscosity than flavour. That flavour delivers roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate notes with hints of black coffee and vanilla while those bitter hop notes finish it off.
This beer’s robust nature and high alcohol content makes it a great contender for aging. Check out my blog from a while back on developing your beer cellar. Of course, it tastes great now. Go all out and try it with some rich chocolate dessert!