Friday, December 24, 2010

Chocolate Stouts — Bison Brewing vs. Hermitage Brewing Co.

Bison Brewing
Chocolate Stout
ABV 5%

Dark brown.
Coffee, green olive, smoke.
Watered down cold coffee.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Slight chocolate that quickly fades.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Hermitage Brewing Co.
Irondale Swanton Rea's
Double Chocolate Stout

ABV 8%

Black oil.
Aroma: Smokey coffee, molasses, slight sourness and cold steel.
Flavor: Creamy coffee, bitter dark chocolate, licorice.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Unsweetened cocoa powder.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good

Blow by Blow
This Christmas Eve we managed to sneak in a bottle battle in the midst of all the holiday revelry. And in the spirit of the season we invited family to join in the fist-flying festivities. Many thanks to Tom & Candace for their participation!

Chocolate stout seemed to be a good choice to wash down the obscene amounts of cookies, panuche and other assorted sweets so we gathered two bottles and let them have at it. We detected chocolate in both beers, but it was far more prominent in the Irondale stout. The Bison beer had a bit of chocolate in the finish, but was mostly dominated by watery coffee characteristics. The green olive note in the Bison was peculiar, but not off-putting and led to a discussion about how coffee beans aromas can sometimes cross over into the olive realm.

All in all, it wasn't a very close fight. The Irondale had far more body and much better chocolate flavor. The Bison is a real simple beer that we'd recommend you avoid unless you're looking for a good iced-coffee substitute next summer.

Winner by unanimous decision: Hermitage.

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