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Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the category “Stout”

Boatswain Chocolate Stout

This is only my 30th review on Draft Notes, but the one review which gets the most views is Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer. So, not Bells Hopslam or a Cigar City beer, Boatswain! Ok, to clue in those who are unaware, Boatswain beers are brewed by Minhas Brewery in Wisconsin and sold at Trader Joes for $1.99 for a 22oz bottle. Basically this is the beer counterpart of their famous “Two Buck Chuck” wine. Like I was when I first tried the double IPA, people are curious. Therefore, today I will be reviewing Boatswain Chocolate Stout.Boatswain Choc Stout Label

This Chocolate Stout weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 66 IBUs. The label states they use cocoa powder in the brewing process which is fairly common, but for the calorie counters out there, you should know that powder have a fairly high fat content compared to those using syrups or cocoa nibs.

I am going to be tasting this beer in a standard beer mug, poured from the 22oz bottle.

Boatswain Choc Stout w GlassAppearance is midnight black with a British khaki head.

Aromas are chocolate and roasted barley. Not much else and those present are fairly light.

Tastes like those aromas with the chocolate dominating and that roasted barley peeking in. I also pick up some coffee as dull bitterness rolls of the tongue.

Mouth feel is slightly chalky, medium body, and a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall this beer is easy drinking and if I take the price tag in account, not a bad buy. It just doesn’t have a whole lot of anything that sticks out. Nothing bad, nothing great, needs more flavor. I will rate Boatswain Chocolate Stout 2.75 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale. Boatswain Choc Stout Head

Give it a try, but I suggest paying a couple of dollars more for something like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout ($4.99 17oz) or Rogue Chocolate Stout ($6.99 22oz).

If you are interested in the cocoa type discussion (Powder, Nibs, Syrup,or bar), I thought this was a pretty good article and probably helpful for home brewers: http://allaboutbeer.com/learn-beer/home-brewing/recipes/2010/01/brewing-with-cocoa/

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Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout

Narwhal LabelMany craft beer drinkers credit Sierra Nevada as one of their “gateway” breweries introducing them to the tastes of craft beer and drawing them away from boring macro beers. I picked up the often available Pale Ale many years ago and continue to enjoy it to this date. Today I find myself far from the old pale ale holding a Narwhal Imperial Stout which is part of Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude Series (Hoptimum and Bigfoot also in this series). Narwhal (2012) was release in October and has been highly touted by many beer drinkers/reviewers. The beer weighs in at 10.2% ABV and 60 IBU using Magnum hops and about a half dozen malts (including 2 Row Pale and Roasted Barley). One item to note for those watching their figure, this beer has approximately 305 calories which is far from 150 or less in the average pilsner or lager. The (hopefully) awesomeness of this stout will be worth it though. Let us drink.

Appearance is black as tar with dark tan head which recedes within 30 seconds. Aromas I detect are sweet chocolate, slight coffee, and a touch of smoke. Aromas are all fairly mild, but blend quite well. Immediate tastes are roasted coffee and a little chocolate with the smoky roasted barley coming through. I detect the alcohol after a sting of bitterness leaves the tongue. There is a silky smooth mouth feel creating a medium body. Narwhal and GlassOverall, I would say they blend of roasted coffee, chocolate, and smoke come together quite well. It is interesting how the aroma leans towards the sweet chocolate (slight coffee) and then the taste is primarily coffee (slight chocolate). I think my favorite part of this beer is the silk like mouth feel. Probably not what the brewery would hope for as the highlight. The lingering alcohol taste is a bit much for my liking. I will rate this beer 4 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

The Sierra Nevada website points out that this is a great beer to age, so I would be curious to try this after a year of two of aging to see how much of the alcohol dissipates. That would make me happy and push that rating up. Not sure I have the patience to wait though! Learn more about Sierra Nevada here: http://www.sierranevada.com/. Interested in Narwhals? Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narwhal. Rumor is they enjoy bacon.

Founders Breakfast Stout

I read this morning that today is “International Stout Day”, news to me although I am starting to see a trend after celebrating IPA day a couple of months back. I just happen to have a highly regarded stout in my refrigerator, so I figure I may as well review it to be festive. The Stout, as you can tell by the title of this post, is Founders Breakfast Stout which is a seasonal (Sep-Feb) Imperial Stout out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This beer weighs in with an ABV of 8.3% and 60 IBUs and the bottle lists it as a Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout. Founders’ website lists imported and bitter chocolates along with Kona and Sumatra coffees as key ingredients. Based on the description, naming the beer “Breakfast Stout” makes a lot of sense.  As mentioned, this is a highly regarded stout to include a 99/100 rating by Beer Advocate and 100/100 on RateBeer. Based on the excitement from beer lovers and these ratings I decided I need to see what an almost perfect stout tastes like.

The appearance is a black body with minimal tan head which receded very quickly (I barely had time to take the picture before it was gone). The aromas are what you would expect based on my above description. There is a whole lot of fresh coffee with a dash of chocolate.  Right in line with the description and aromas, the taste is a shot of espresso, chocolate, another shot of espresso, and then a dash more chocolate, There is definitely a bitter finish partly as a result of using bitter chocolates and coffees.  The mouth feel is fairly chewy and I pick up minimal carbonation, but any more would be weird (imagine an ice coffee with carbonation, ick), so it comes together very well.

Overall, this is a beer for coffee lovers and if you also like chocolate you may be in heaven.  At this point of my beer tasting career, I find the excessive coffee taste interesting but I really don’t feel like I am drinking a beer. I would think it would go very well as a post dinner drink with some ice cream or other dessert. Despite my slight issues with coffee in beer, Founders definitely hit the nail on the head with what you would want in a Coffee “Breakfast” Stout. I can’t go perfect, but I would have to give Founders Breakfast Stout 4 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

You can read more about Founders and their beers at http://foundersbrewing.com. Now I need to work out if caffeine stays in the beer through the brewing process and whether I will be able to get to sleep tonight. Cheers!

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