On the docket: 22 oz. Stone Brewing Co.’s 20th Anniversary Encore Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Bottled: 1/10/16.
Poured into: Stone Brewing Co. branded pint glass
S: An ebony body fills out the glass. On top sits an espresso-foam tan head, thick and sustaining. Lacing is thick and regular. Bubbles may be present, but the body is so dark, I cannot see them.
A: Great aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and cut oats. The hops are lost under the amazing, midnight black medley. As the beer warms, the alcohol is a bit more pronounced.
T: The nose carries over into the taste. Added to the fold is an initial sweetness. It quickly fades, and the dark, bittersweet baker’s chocolate comes through. Roasted coffee and a liberal dose of bitter hops carry on through to the finish. Hops provide a piney punch on the end. Alcohol is present as a pleasant tingle as the beer approaches room temperature.
F: Fluffy, smooth, creamy. For such a high abv beer, this one is easy to drink, mostly due to the oats, lightening the body. It is titled Bitter Chocolate, and they’re not fooling around at Stone. Between the hop bill and the treatment of the malt, there is a significant drying effect on the end of this beer. Long finish, with a bracing bitterness.
O: Luxurious, sweet but mostly savory. For those looking for a “grows on you” type of beer, this is for you. Dark chocolate fans should grab this one.
S: 4 A: 4.25 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25
Suggested food pairing: Tiramisu, sweet cheesecake, nutty/creamy English cheese, barbecue with sweet sauce