Harpoon Chocolate Stout

I normally avoid chocolate stouts, but my local beer distributor has a fairly pitiful collection of brews, so I've opted to just jump in and try one. I am reminded of the triple chocolate stout that I once tried at the Fox and Hound in Pittsburgh, and it was truly terrible. I fear a repeat, but I've already paid, so why not go for it? After all, I have some extra Left Hand Milk Stout in the beer fridge.

The pour is unremarkable, but this is a blog, so let me remark. The picture attached to this is immediately after pouring, and there is nearly no head. That's pretty much where it sat for the rest of the experience. The foam that formed was thin, and it clung to the edge, but it stayed pretty well. The aroma is very chocolate. This is not the proper chocolate malt aroma - this is added chocolate flavor. Hmm. I can't say I'm optimistic about the taste.

I have tasted it. I have tried big droughts and short sips. I even let it warm up a little to see what changes may ensue. I can only repeat what I've stressed more than once.
Dear brewers of the world, stop it. Stop adding crap to your beers that has no business being there. Yes, sometimes it works, but those times are so few and far between that it is not likely that YOUR beer is going to be the one that breaks the mold.  You need to take a step back and say, "Hey, have I actually perfected my regular IPA enough that it's okay for me to go nuts with adding these legumes and moss to a beer to show off my prowess?" The answer is almost always no.
 So, warming it up doesn't help. The taste is bitter and tart with an almost saccharin sweet layered on top. The smokey chocolate of the natural malt is unpleasantly "enhanced" by chocolate flavoring. I'm not sure how to best describe it, but I would say it is the equivalent of taking some good vanilla bean ice cream and adding a broth of vanilla extract. It's nothing I would volunteer for.



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