Profiled by Maria Devan for PGA
Pours luscious and a bit thick. Perfectly black with a good head of khaki colored foam that lasts and leaves lace. Eventually the head falls to a thick ring and the bubbles seem to want to hug the glass as I swirl the beer around.
Nose is deep and rich and a bit sweet. Roast and chocolate, a sweet caramel and weak coffee. This has a mellow quality to the nose that I really like. It smells soft and like it does not have any rough edges. A bit of earthiness and a faint and elusive nuttiness comes forward as it warms. I am not getting any smoky qualities from the nose.
Taste is smooth and well blended. There is a bit of smoke on the palate and a touch of earthy bitterness form the roast. The coffee stays weak in the drink and the chocolate is also a bit fainter on the palate than on the nose. The sweet underpinnings of caramel carry through smoothly to a dry and bitter finish with a nice drying effect on the tongue from the alcohol. That’s all you see of the alcohol though. You do not taste it and it’s not in the nose. Only a ticklish bit of warmth as you swallow and it’s faint at that. Lovely! It does come across with a bit of a cereal taste in the middle but I think I would say that is richness of roast without a lot of heavy or sugary sweetness. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but not too thick or too heavy. It is not terribly complex There is no fruit character and the malt says supple and soft throughout the drink as the sweetness of the chocolate creeps shyly onto the palate more and more as you drink.
This one has a charming simplicity and is very easy to drink. Well done.
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”
Maria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.