If the sub freezing temperatures last weekend weren’t indication enough that winter is here in The Commonwealth, then the snow in and around Thanksgiving should do it. Yes it is winter is here and on the VBR tour of Charlottesville this weekend, we had plenty of ‘winter appropriate’ beers that we will be reviewing, including some of the most talked about ones from Virginia. First up was another great creation from Starr Hill that showed off this breweries range.
Shakedown Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout, Starr Hill Bewery (Crozet, VA)
Stout, ABV: 8.0%
Presentation: 22 oz bottle pour into cup for notes, bottle for rest.
Appearance: About as dark as you can get and still tell there is a haze to it. Light brown foam that sits if not attended to.
Smell: Heavy malts and chocolate dominate the nose with slight, slight cherry.
Taste: Take amazing dark chocolate and turn it into liquid form. It is all chocolate, all the time. It even dominates the other 2 flavors you would expect with a name like ‘Imperial’ and ‘Cherry’. You would expect a heavy malted alcohol taste up front, but that is not really there. And you get the cherry on the back end. But 75% of the experience is CHOCOLATE.
ABV/IBU Feel: It is an Imperial, so the 8% is about par for the course, but you do not get it at all. You have an almost gritty chocolate mouthfeel dissipating into a creamy finish. They say the IBU is 45, but that has to be for balance, cause there is no hoppy feel to it at all.
Overall: These specialty beers are tough to line up side by side. Do you put this type of beer in the 16A category for Dark British Beer-Sweet Stout or 20B for American Stout? It was hard to read the base stout cause the chocolate really dominates from beginning to end. That’s not a bad thing, but I would have liked to have a better ‘stoutness’ to it. This is a purely dessert beer, and I couldn’t really see having more than one anytime, but it was an amazing beer meant to be shared with good friends and family.