Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Harpoon Chocolate Stout - Limited Edition

Brewed since 2008, Harpoon Chocolate Stout is a seasonal limited edition found in the Harpoon Wintry Mix, which can be found during the months of November-January. This example is brewed with exceptionally dark roasted malts that give it a naturally chocolate-like aroma and flavor. Chocolate is also used additionally as an adjunct.

Alcohol Content: 5.9%
International Bitterness Units: 40
Malts: ?, Chocolate malt, & Chocolate (adjunct)
Hops: ?

Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass
Price: $13.50 for a 12-pack Harpoon sampler (Wintry Mix only)

Aroma: The bold chocolate aroma can be specifically defined as a bittersweet or dark chocolate with a roasted character. The underlying hop profile is citrusy, although not very potent due to the overwhelming chocolate. Some degree of esters gives it a slightly harsh nose.
Appearance: Opaque, black hue. Pours for a thick, creamy mocha head that appears to be fluffy or cloudy along with lots of lacing up the sides of the glass. Lots of head retention. Visible carbonation is impossible to tell due to its opaqueness.
Flavor: Generously/ overly roasted character from start to finish with a slight degree of malt sweetness, but mostly bitter quality. The hop character hits about mid pallet and confirms the citrusy nose as I expected. Its surprisingly a bit smoky, but not in a good way - possibly phenolic. The finish is bittersweet and overly acrid/harsh. There are also some estery and alcoholic flavors present.
Mouthfeel: Overall medium body - not too heavy considering it a Chocolate stout. A moderate amount of alcohol warmth and some degree of slickness. A "hot" mouthfeel and astringent finish makes it unappealing.
Overall Impression: I gave this the lowest score so far of all the Vermont crafted beers I have sampled - In fact I actually poured it down the drain towards the end of the session. This beer should be served a little warmer at 55-60 F. Off flavors are strong enough to deter a pleasant experience. I could see this being paired with dessert or substituting it for a dessert altogether due to its rich chocolate character.

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