Thursday, June 02, 2005

I like my stout like I like my women...

Well, here we are with the second review for Bibliobabe. As you may recall, we are searching for a beer that is "sweet & yummy."

At Bibliobabe's suggestion, I tried Young's Double Chocolate Stout. I liked it. But the question is, will it satisfy the ever finicky Bibliobabe?

First let me mention that there is some question as to the actual name of this brew. The label on the 1 pint 0.9 oz bottle has the word luxury in small script between the words Young's and Double. So is it really Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout? Maybe, but none of my references include the word luxury. Hey, the world is imperfect. What are ya going to do?

Because this is a stout, I guess I will have to give you a quick introduction to this style of ale. Okay, quick and dirty intro on stout. Stout evolved from porter. Porter is a style of ale that originated in England. Porters are dark and robust. These qualities come from the fact that the grains are roasted prior to brewing. Legend has it that the guys who worked the docks (porters) loved this new style and so it was named after them. Stout started as attempts to make an even darker and richer version of ale than porter.

That's all I will give you now. Perhaps I will write more about the style's history when I review Guinness - the stout standard.

Now, BB got all excited when she saw that this was a chocolate stout. I should mention that BB likes chocolate. I was not impressed when she originally suggested Young's Double Chocolate Stout because I know that the term "chocolate" is a taste descriptor for stouts and heavier ales that does not mean that the brew contains chocolate, but that there is a chocolate character to the taste. I was surprised to find out that Young's does indeed include chocolate and chocolate extract in this beer during brewing.

First, the numbers: 5.2% ABV and I would guess 20 to 40 IBU.

Young's DCS is a very attractive dark brown color with ruby highlights, best seen at the edge of the glass when held up to the light. It has a soft foamy light brown head that shows the characteristic small dense bubbles of most stouts. These bubbles come from the fact that stouts usually contain nitrogen as well as carbon dioxide. You can sometimes see these small bubbles traveling downward along the side of the glass.

The beer has a pleasant roasted malty aroma similar to coffee with a bit of chocolate. Kind of like one of those foo-foo coffees you can get wherever the black sweater beret and clove cigarette crowd hangs out. I also thought it smelled a little like Boston brown bread. If you don't know what Boston brown bread is I ain't going to take up space here to describe it, but I will mention that it is made with dark molasses.

Let me say right now that, as a guy who likes stout, I found Young's DCS unexpectedly good. It is very smooth, which is not uncommon for stouts. The thing that impressed me, that I was not expecting, was that the overall body was not as creamy as I though it would be. This is a complex little brew. I got tastes of mild coffee, several aspects of malt, some spice that I could not really put my finger on (anise?), toffee and yes chocolate. Well, maybe cacao would be a better term than chocolate. You see cacao straight from the tree is very bitter. It takes a ton of sugar to turn cacao into chocolate. The taste I experienced was of bitter chocolate - like Baker's chocolate. This bitterness pounces on you during the finish and lingers during a short aftertaste.

Some reviews have called this beer sweet. That is true, but that is a beer snob's version of sweet. Remember, bitter is a primary beer taste. If a beer does not start bitter or sour right off the bat and if it is very malty, a beer snob will call it sweet.

Young and Co. Brewery is located in Wandsworth, London, England. The fact that this "sweet" beer is actually quite bitter is not surprising - after all, the Brits have a style of beer named "bitter."

To sum up: I like this stout. It was much more flavorful and complex than I expected. It's richness does not make me want to drink too much of it, but it would be nice for the holidays. As for Bibliobabe - well since she told me about a wine that when drunk with chocolate chips tastes like chocolate covered cherries - something tells me she would find this beer none too sweet.

I guess the quest continues. Yah mule!

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