Bristol Beer Factory: Chilli Choc Stout (England: Stout: 5% ABV)

Visual: Pours black, but has a hint of red in the light. A fizz as it pours but an unusually shallow coffee coloured foam for a head.

Nose: Crushed sesame seeds. Crushed granite. Black coffee. Crushed green peppers and greenery. Empty coffee cup remains as well. Chilli is distinct on the deep breaths.

Body:  Bitter. Chilli heat and green peppers. Slight orange juice. Can seem slightly thin at times. Coffee and bitter chocolate. Black cherry.

Finish:  Green peppers and a warm chilli tingle evident at the back of the throat.  Light bitter chocolate. An edge of glacier cherry slowly emerges.

Conclusion:  This is the first disappointing beer from the twelve stouts of Christmas. Heck, it’s possibly the first disappointing BBF beer. Chilli stouts are an odd beast at the best of times though. Too much chilli and you get the De Molens style molten lava beer. Worse than that, too much chilli emphasis and you get the god-awful lager based Black Mountain Chili beer that I tried many years ago. By tried incidentally I mean survived, that beer was pure vomit.  Then on the other hand you can have too little chilli and then what’s the point of having it?

For this beer? Well it can feel murky at times. The base stout is solid, but somehow the chilli elements seem to make it seem thin and indistinct at times.  That is a pretty major flaw, however for all that I will admit the use of the chilli itself is well balanced. The heat is present and builds slowly without becoming painful. The problem is that the base beer doesn’t handle it well, falling before the chilli and losing definition in its flavour.  The stout is overtaken by the flavours of greenery and leaves much of the time unfortunately.

A pity, but it really needed a bigger beer to work. This just doesn’t have the umph to balance it.

Background: Part of Bristol beer Factories Twelve stouts of Christmas. This is about the half way point through the pack. I think. I’m losing count.  So far the stouts have been pretty spot on, and BBF tends to be great when working with stouts.  This stout is made with habanero chilli from the Upton Cheney Chilli farm apparently.