Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout review

Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate StoutHow often have your come back for more? In this particular case, it's been over 3 years since my last one. I'm talking about the late year seasonal - Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout. I've had this beer before on a couple different occasions, but on each of those previous occasions I've forgotten to give the beer a formal review. This time will be different, however, as I finally had time to sit down and enjoy it.

FCB brews this beer up only for a couple of months each year. Back in late September during the GABF, I was visiting the brewery in Fort Collins and was told they were brewing up a huge batch of it at that moment. I could see their workers pulling out dark grains from the mash tun through the glass in their tasting room. It's taken 3 months since that time, but now was a good time to try it again.

The first time I tried this big 8.1% ABV imperial stout (some call it a sweet stout) was in FCB's old tasting room prior to their move. This brew was on a nitro tap and was absolutely wonderful. This time, it came from a 22oz bomber bottle. Would it be as good as I remembered?

Appearance: FCB Double Chocolate Stout poured a very dark, dark brown - not black - and had a slightly lighter mahogany edges around the glass. With a modest pour I got a very generous 3 finger dark brown fluffy head. The foam lasted for several minutes and left a nice clingy lacing along the edge.

Aroma: This brew packed a lot of power in the nose. I got a lot of chocolate and coffee roast aroma in the nose. I could also pick up on some caramel malt as well. In addition, I detected a fair amount of high alcohol in the scent as well. This smelled like a powerful stout, no doubt about that. On the side I could also pick up a hint of citrus from the hops that were used.

Taste: I knew that this brew was extremely cold when I opened the bottle, so I let it sit and warm up for about 10 minutes or more while I started taking notes. FCB's Double Chocolate Stout hit me with a powerful dark roasted flavor. It felt dry, very roasty, with tones of subtle chocolate, even more coffee bitterness and a drying slap of alcohol on the back end. The malts seemed to coat my tongue and mouth with a bitter roast. I half expected something a bit sweeter, but I didn't get all that much caramel or sweetness in this sample. I felt as if I should try pairing this beer with a sweet chocolate candy, and so I did.

An earlier sample from 2008I grabbed a small handful of dark chocolate M&Ms and continued my sample. Bingo! By pairing a sweeter dark chocolate with a more bitter and stronger kick, the mixture worked extremely well. This brew was made to be paired with chocolate!

Overall: By itself, the Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout was a powerful after dinner type beer meant for slow sipping and savoring. I found it a bit stronger on the alcohol side, particularly in the nose, even though as an imperial stout it was just an average 8% or so ABV. I've tasted stronger imperial stouts with over 12% ABV that had less alcohol kick than this one.

The dark roasty malts and hops seemed to tip a bit more towards the bitter side than most imperial stouts, yet when paired with a chocolatey snack or dessert seemed to bring out the best in both. I highly recommend you try this with a sweet dessert. I'd suggest you even pour it over ice cream and/or make it into a beer float. As this beer warmed the full flavors seemed to come out quite well.

I miss having this brew on a nitro tap as that made it even more creamier than ever. Yet, this brew filled the stout bill just fine and I wasn't disappointed at all. Be prepared for this one, the Double Chocolate Stout packed a powerful bite and if you find the right dessert or meal to pair it with you'll enjoy it even more. While it wasn't in my top 5 imperial stouts of all time, I'll still give it a decent Thumbs Up rating.

After notes: After I poured my second glass from the same bottle I noticed that this part of the sample was a bit more chocolatey and creamier. Perhaps the alcohol bit had subsided a bit, but the second helping was even more enjoyable. All the better!

Video showing the pour of :

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Related articles:
- Company Profile: Fort Collins Brewery.
- A fresh look at the Fort Collins Brewery.
- Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground review.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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