A BEER WITH THIS much added flavoring shouldn’t be this easy-drinking. Despite packing one of the most cocoa-heavy profiles of any chocolate stout on the market, Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout still manages to be more adept and ‘adult’ than nearly all its competitors.
The beer looks like rich freshly-tilled soil in the glass with a light brown head, while its aroma, unsurprisingly, is of malt syrup and chocolate milk. Yet not the gloopy Hershey’s mixture slopped into children’s sippy cups; rather a fine, high-percentage cocoa blended with fresh whole milk. These impressions dominate the aroma and entry to the palate then coast into a finish considerably more subtle than expected, where moderate toast and even a bit of the light grain base lilt over the palate. IBUs of 28 ensure a level of balance, though not so assertively as for any bitterness to be perceived. The body is round, full, and luscious at an estimated 5 Plato without being sticky: that it achieves such a silky chocolate texture (not just of dry cocoa powder) without the inclusion of lactose sugar is simply a wonder.
Indeed, the beer’s great charm is how artfully it concludes after its almost overpowering opening. The finish is far more articulate than most chocolate ales of this substance, which tend to be packed with granular sugar or lofty ABVs. At 5% ABV, Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout remains a companion to the sessionable flagship Nut Brown Ale, respectably proportionate and underscored by the same clarity and efficient slow-burning fuse of effervescence. Moderate throughout the body until it deploys a small and efficient cleansing burst in the finish, this feature is consistent through a number of Sam Smith’s best ales. And the Chocolate Stout is among them—altogether alarmingly good.
Served: 12 oz bottled July 19, 2013 (SG19M1)