Heretic Hazlenut Chocolate Porter

Heretic: Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (USA: Porter: 7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Medium sized milky coffee coloured head.

Nose: Milky chocolate. Praline. Hazelnuts. Marathon chocolate bar (Or Snickers for young ‘uns). Nougat.

Body: Very smooth texture. Milky coffee and bitter chocolate. Praline. Light hop prickle. Peanuts. Milk chocolate. Oatmeal. Toffee. Creamy, with chocolate liquore late on. Coffee.

Finish: Praline and nuts. Solid bitterness. Toffee. Creamy.

Conclusion: This is one smooth beer, like luxury chocolate pralines and ground up nuts smooth. It declares itself straight away in the aroma, which is half hot chocolate drink with praline, and half a melted marathon chocolate bar. It is big, thick, and absolutely makes you want to drink it.

The body then, is both awesomely smooth, and also not quite what you expect. From the aroma I expected a somewhat thicker body, almost nougat chewy style or thick hot chocolate, instead it is lighter – with massive flavour but it slips down very easily.

So, technically smooth is good, but it does clash with expectations, I anticipated something else. Lighter as it is, it feels almost weightless. Still, it is wonderful to drink, and with just a touch of bitter prickle to give it an edge over its very dessert like main imagery.

Bigger mouthfuls also give a bit more weight and a bit of toffee and cream flavour, amongst the nuts and high quality chocolate – however big mouthfuls are dangerous at 7% abv.

So, overall, very nice, with great rounded and luxurious flavours and great creaminess. While the lighter nature works against it initially, it does mean that it builds up over time and gains more grip – improving throughout the glass. By the end it is creamier again, and has quality coffee to match the chocolate, with nuts always present as a smooth mid note.

It is a hair breadth from being one of the top of the game – There is still something not quite there with the texture, but it is a very slight matter. Overall it is very high quality – well worth a drink even if it is just off the top few.

Background: Picked up from Independent Spirit. Seriously I say that so much it is becoming cliché. Anyway, oddly after picking up this bottle I found another Heretic Porter on tap at the Bath Brew House, and it was lovely. So I was looking forwards to this. The label describes how it won third place in a beer competition when it was first entered, then later beer of the show. So, I’m guessing they are proud of this beer. This was drunk with friends, and had a strange conversation on how praline is pronounced, which involved comparisons to Stalin…e at one point. We may have strange conversations when drinking.

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