Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ska Autumnal Mole Stout review

Ska Autumnal Mole StoutCombine mild chiles, cocoa nibs, spices, & common beer ingredients and what do you get? If you're from Durango, Colorado you probably know the answer. It's a Ska Autumnal Mole Stout - the first of the 4 seasonal stouts that Ska Brewing Company is putting into cans on a quarterly basis.

Ska Autumnal Mole Stout looked intriguing right from the start. The combination of cocoa nibs, spices along with mild chiles sounded like the potential for a lot of big flavor. Ska chose to can this beer, like they do with most of their beers, and offer it up in 6-packs. This beer weighs in at 5.5% ABV and at 165 calories (for those who still count). It was released in time for the Autumnal Equinox.

The term "Mole" refers to a mix of different chile peppers that are made into a sauce in Mexican cuisine. These 3 chile peppers consist of: mulato, ancho and hatch green chiles. All of these peppers are considered mild - and probably a good thing, you wouldn't want too much heat dominating over the cocoa nibs and dark roasted malts in this beer.

I've had 4 of these beers prior to this review, but saved a can (luckily) for this review. Since that time, Ska won a gold medal at the 2012 All Colorado Beer Festival for this beer in the Spice / Herb / Vegetable Beer category!

Appearance: Ska Autumnal Mole Stout poured a very dark dark brown. It was nearly black, but I could see some lighter brown tones around the edge of the glass. There was a nice bit of light brown foam built up in the glass, however that faded very quickly and left virtually no trace when it settled.

Aroma: I certainly got a nose full of the full mix of ingredients here. I could pick up on the cocoa and the peppers right away. The spices in the beer almost seemed like cinnamon. The pepper were toned down, but still noticeable. It was hard to pick out the roasted malts in this beer from the rest and almost no hop aroma at all.

The very first time I drank this beer out of a snifter glass I got my eyes real close the glass opening and they got a slight burning sensation. The fumes from this beer caused some mild irritation in your eyes - so be aware.

Taste: Oh wow, complex! This beer had a lot of flavors going on. I could taste the mild chiles, some chocolate notes and a bit of spice a midst the roasted malts. The taste was consistent from start to finish, with no after taste. I did notice a slight mild burn from the chiles, but that was just momentary. This is a full bodied stout, slightly dry with some sweet tones mixed in with peppery heat and spice. Luckily, this beer blended all of them well and nothing was overly done.

Overall: It took a bit of time to fully get into what was going on with this beer. Normally, I'm not a fan of peppers and chocolate, but this beer changed my mind about that. I like what Ska did with this beer. They didn't sit still and make a usual brew, they jazzed (or should I say "Ska'ed") it up a bit and made it stand out from other stouts. I can see why this beer has been getting a lot of good attention in the forums and now starting with an award. This stout is eye-wateringly good.

I eagerly await the other 3 seasonal stouts that Ska is coming out with next. For the winter, they are blending grape juice, wine barrels into Ska Hibernal Vinifera Stout - that should be interesting.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store. This beer came in a 6-pack of 12oz cans.

Related articles:
- Ska Pinstripe Red Ale review.
- Ska Steel Toe Stout review.
- Ska Modus Hoperandi review.
- Ska Ten Pin Porter review.

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