Hey all! I know it’s been a while, but thems the breaks when you graduate college, need to find a job, need to move out of your apartment, and then subsequently move back home till you find the job that you are so fiendishly searching after. So stop being so critical, just sit back, relax, and have a beer! That’s what I did tonight, and since I heard that New Belgium and Perennial Artisan Ales teamed up, I’ve wanted to sit back with this one for a while! I’ll tell you this has been a trial trying to find this beer. They don’t sell it anywhere around me so it took one of my good buddies from Texas to pick me up a bottle when he visited home (thanks Jojo!). But enough with the foreplay, let’s get right down to this Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout!
This pours a very thick looking almost oil-like black color. I say thick looking because it actually doesn’t drink nearly as thick as you’d think it would. The head that forms on it dissipates a tad quicker than I would have expected, but it shares a similar appearance to that of a frothed cappuccino. This is a picturesque stout through and through.
The scent, interestingly enough caught me by surprise because it has some fruity notes to it. Nothing like orange or dragon fruit, but more like a raisin or date, maybe even figs. You could convince yourself that there is a hint of coffee, however I am not too sure that scent is actually present on purpose. There is a rather strong booze scent that sits at the face of this beer, which unfortunately overpowers basically every other aromatic quality. Unfortunately, this category falls…well short.
Do yourself a favor if you ever come across this beer – let it reach a more mellow temperature. I took the bottle out of my 35º fridge and the result was down right BAD. However, as I let it sit and come up to a more reasonable 40-50º all of the advertised flavors came out (to one degree or another). The company tells you that the flavor should be “Sweetness upfront, balanced with a mild bitterness and a touch of salt to express sweetness,” and I have to tell you, that is pretty much exactly what happens! The sweetness up front is very similar to the sweet fruit smell of dates that I described earlier. The bitterness in the middle is much more of a realization of the salty finish after the sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t ‘like eating a pretzel’ salty, but there is a bit of sharpness at the tip of the tongue that pulls all the flavors together. But I will say again, none of these flavors, especially the salty aspect, were even remotely apparent when the beer was frigid.
I went into this hoping to find an overly complex beer with hints of all that were promised to me: salt, Belgian hops, chocolate, stout-like-malts…but what I was left with was reminiscent qualities of most of those, and a general feeling that corners were cut in the pursuit of complexity. If I wasn’t informed by the label, I wouldn’t even know that this beer was crafted by two Belgian-oriented breweries by taste. I do however, give them credit for accomplishing a ‘salt’ taste in a beer that wasn’t not obtrusive or gross – and that actually aided in tying the beer together. The Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout is definitely worth a purchase of one of the 20oz bottles based of it’s uniqueness alone, but I find it difficult to merit buying a case, or drinking this with any sense of regularity because 20oz of beer is a lot for something that feels like it’s not quite there.
3.25 Stars out of 5