TAP Beer of the Week: Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout

[Feb. 22, 2010] I should have cracked this one open last week for Valentine’s Day to go along with the rest of the chocolate suddenly floating around the house, since stout and chocolate are usually an inspired pairing. No matter, with a passel of snow predicted for the week ahead this may be just the fortification needed.

It’s the penultimate bottle of the birthday beers my brother picked out for me, from an eight-year-old brewery in rural western New York that is growing in size and influence. Southern Tier produces five year-round beers and a raft of seasonals and special bottlings–I counted thirty in the portfolio, including those in the Blackwater Series.

This has nothing to do with stealth military operations, and everything to do with Imperial Stouts, enough of a menu to dazzle Starbucks patrons–besides the Choklat Stout, there’s the Jah*va Coffee Stout, the Mokah (made with chocolate and coffee), the Crème Brûlée Milk Stout and the Oatmeal Stout, all upwards of 9% ABV.

The bottle I’m draining at the moment is an 11% whopper, which adds bittersweet Belgian chocolate to the mix of barley, caramel and chocolate malts and barley flakes, with Chinook and Willamette hops thrown into the kettle.

It’s not quite as opaque as a moonless night, with mahogany hues lapping at the edges, but the hot chocolate aroma suggests a blast of whipped cream or marshmallows might be in order for a topping. I’m tempted to try this beer heated up and poured over ice cream.

Stouts and Imperial stouts can suggest chocolate flavors without any actual chocolate used in the process, but in beers like this, or Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, there’s no subtlety involved, the chocolate is center stage, deservedly taking top billing. You either like this sort of thing or you don’t. I like it–from time to time.

Young’s is a far milder beer at 5.2% ABV, and it’s worth remembering that the Choklat is a big beer, since the aroma and sweet palate override its alcoholic warmth. We’ve already had enough headless snowmobilers in the news this winter. Keep this beer on the shelf until the day’s wintry activities are done, not about to begin. Put on the slippers, then begin sipping.

Name: Imperial Choklat Stout
Brewer: Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, NY
Style: Imperial Stout flavored with chocolate
ABV: 11%
Availability: Winter seasonal, 22 states
For More Information: southerntierbrewing.com

Related posts:
Southern Tier Warlock
Southern Tier Imperial Pumking
Southern Tier 2XMAS

7 Responses to “TAP Beer of the Week: Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout”

  1. William Keff Doak

    TAP beer in a bottle? Is that like Miller Genuine Draft? Or does TAP stand for Tom’s Appreciation Period? In any case, I’m glad you get started on a beer early in the week. No time like the present.

    My father was a Herb Alpert fan, and he had several albums. Funny, that’s the only album cover I remember . . .

  2. Tom Bedell

    We here at TAP, while enjoying word play, avoid oxymora with a vehemence reserved for airline food, military intelligence, genuine fakes and true lies, all of which we feel can be clearly ambiguous. As for Herb Alpert, that’s the only cover anyone remembers, isn’t it?

  3. John Mitchell

    Are they like chickens and continue driving thru the snow for a period of time?
    Common accurance in Vermont?
    Gratutious use of album covers, shame on you Beds.

  4. Tom Bedell

    Gratuitous but pleasing, right? Takes your mind off headless snowmobilers who, presumably, have already crashed into something to achieve that state.

  5. David

    Big difference between the ST and Young beers! The Young is so much less carbonated. I love the ST chocolate stout, but can’t get throuh the Young.

  6. Tom Bedell

    Too sweet? I’ve had the Youngs on tap and find it pretty agreeable, but as a general rule I prefer to separate my chocolate and my beer. Thanks for checking in from Denmark. Happiest country in the world, or so we hear!

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