Southern Tier Choklat Review
Chocolate beer! Sounds like a better way to market craft beer to a broader audience than patronizing gimmicks like putting light lager in pink packaging. Sure, stouts and porters often have roasted malts that impart flavors of chocolate (e.g. chocolate malts) and coffee. But can brewers apply actual chocolate or cocoa nibs as adjuncts to make beer better? This is what we will try and resolve in our tasting of Southen Tier Choklat.
A part of the ‘Blackwater Series’ of imperial stouts, this beer comes in at a high 11% ABV. Known perhaps best for their Pumking imperial ale, Southern Tier makes a number of huge stouts that appeal to those who like sweetness with their roasted malt, booze bombs. This beer gets a 100(!)/100 on Rate Beer and a 95/100 on Beer Advocate so beer geeks think the combination works. But is this any good? Well yes, yes it is.
Steve’s Take: Dark as night, pouring it less than three weeks after bottling produced a strong tan head that lingers longer than one would expect from an 11.0% brew, with no lacing. This beer smells like Yoo-hoo and roasted grains. Other chocolate based beers do not capture the scent the way Southern Tier has. Candy-like sweetness which along with the heavy dose of chocolate gives this a dessert like quality. Might be a bit sweet for some with allusions to Tootsie Rolls coming through (though this is less pronounced than in Mokah, ST’s combination of Choklat and Jahva a sweet coffee stout). The body is semi-slick with good carbonation keeping it from being heavy. Slight coppery finish along with a sufficient hop kick for balance with almost no hint of the high ABV. None of the soy sauce elements that can characterize unbalanced imperial stouts, Choklat goes down easy.
This is a fine beer. A tad more saccharine than I would prefer in the style, the sweetness is never cloying and pairs very well with the chocolate to make a multidimensional imperial stout. Bottled in late December 2011 Southern Tier Choklat is available while it lasts. A special thanks to Brad at ClevelandFoodandBrews.com for the recommendation.