Bristol Beer Factory: Chocolate Stout (England: Stout: 5% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown to black. Small but frothy coffee cream coloured head.

Nose: Dry grated chocolate flakes. Bitter and with a touch of bitter coffee. Slight dry teabags. A fruity freshness to the edge.

Body: Smooth and decent thickness.  Bitter chocolate. Hint of honey. Creamy malted milk. Light chocolate orange hints. Light pineapple touch.

Finish: Rich chocolate fondue and cream. Light bitterness below.  Touch of tea again.  A freshness, almost citrus in the air. Maybe grapefruit.

Conclusion: I can’t quite tell if this beer is elegant in its simplicity, or has rich subtleties that blend so well to create the pleasing illusion of simplicity.

What I mean by this is that the stout delivers a lovely smooth chocolate experience.  A cut just between bitter and creamy, delivering very much so on the promise its name offers.  This is the seeming simplicity.

However when I pay close attention there seems to be other notes enhancing the experience.  A honey like sweetness and a very subtle tropical fruit touch that keeps it fresh and flavoursome.  It refreshes your taste buds as you sip keeping the experience fresh.

The elements are subtle beside the chocolate experience but seem intrinsically to its enjoyment.  The almost hidden nature of those notes means you can enjoy the seeming simplicity, or dig deeper to understand how it keeps so fresh.

Thus my confusion.  The simplicity seems to hide the amount of effort put into making it effortlessly enjoyable.  So a fine beer, delicious and set well to be drinkable for a good while without getting dull. A beer with a lot of joy to it.

A simple idea done well and I do not doubt the skill it took to make it so.  Good job.

Background: Another of the twelve stouts of Christmas.  So far they had been an eclectic but fun range, going from interesting to awesome.  Bristol Beer Factory is one of my favourite of the English breweries these days for their solid and varied range.