Nantahala Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout Ale

This stout is coming from a brewer I am not familiar with, but I got this one and the bourbon barrel version of the same beer. I guess this will be a stout version of the Pepsi challenge, but cherries and chocolate added into the mix could throw this whole thing off quite a bit. Still, we don't know until we try (or read a report from someone who already tried).

The very dark brown beer is thicker than usual and has a light tan head that was very difficult to coax out. If I didn't know better, I'd say that this beer was aged in bourbon barrels, but I have a version of that coming. This one has an aroma of (not shockingly) chocolate and cherries. I also smell smoke and coffee in there with it, so this is going to be pretty solid.

First sip confirms the coffee, that's for sure. It's not nuts like some of the coffee stouts that I've had, but it is definitely overpowering everything else. The chocolate is noticeable, but I don't taste cherries at all. Of course, it could be the coffee just overwhelming everything or it could be the fact that I only sipped it, and that is not my way.

Tip-in is more carbonation tingle than I expected with lightly roasted coffee, grains, and hints of cherries. The middle lets me get to the heart of the beer, and it is rich, creamy malt, a little vanilla, and very little else. I wouldn't even say that the malt is particularly chocolate or anything, but it is a bit earthy instead. The finish is where it all comes together with coffee surge, bitterness, chocolate, and cherries. The coffee lingers more than the others, but it's not too overpowering (if you like coffee).

Bottom Line: Too much coffee in my chocolate and cherries.



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