The enjoyment of beer should always start in the drinking of beer. Is that too much of a no brainer? Secondly, one should never form an opinion (or worse, express that opinion) if one has not actually drunk said beer. I’ll confess that every now and again I get distracted by the discourse and — to my own shame — my enjoyment of a beer suffers. I’ve been writing opinions about beer for over two years now. That makes me … nothing special, really. Thousands of people have been drinking and discussing beer longer than I. No matter what blogs you read, what camps you associate with, what festivals you attend, or how many times you’ve shaken Sam Calagione’s hand … it all comes down to the beer and you. You sit down at the table/bar/etc. You have a glass (or sometimes a bottle/can) in front of you. You’ve most likely paid for that beer in some way or another. You lift it to your lips. Maybe you swirl it and smell it, maybe you don’t. But you definitely take a sip, or maybe a gulp. Your palate and brain do the rest. You know pretty soon if you like it or not. Everyone is different, and will react differently beer to beer. But if you don’t like chocolate stout, you’re an idiot*.
Enough with the diatribe. Fort Collins Brewery’s Double Chocolate Stout is a big imperial version of their award winning Chocolate Stout, a year-round offering. It is available Jan-Feb and is not a surprising seasonal for the winter months. It pours a creamy, thick black color and forms a wonderful head full of little dark brown/tan bubbles. I bought this beer because it said “Double Chocolate Stout” on the bottle. I have yet to regret making a purchase based on those words alone.
Fort Collins’ offering smells great: heavily roasted, with wonderful coffee and cocoa aromas that just warm you up inside. I pulled it out of the fridge and let it sit for about 40 minutes before I poured it. That prevented some of those harsher “ice cold” sensations and also allowed the carbonation (so I’m told) to come alive. In mouthfeel this stout was like smooth black chocolate coffee, rich and creamy. The taste was full of dark, richly roasted chocolate (et al) malts, and I remember wishing I could have tasted the unfermented wort. But the taste was also gently tempered with carbonation and hops, which actually do brighten it up and give it some liveliness on the palate, making it quaffable. I really liked this beer.
Now that I’ve used the word “quaffable”, my work here is done.
*I don’t really mean that.