Chocolate Widmer Brothers

Chocolate Widmer Brothers/Craft Brew Alliance

Tasting: September 20, 2013
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Beer #: 491

Widmer Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout 2013 Brothers Reserve Batch number 9

(c)2013 popsonhops

The Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) was formed in 2008 with the merger of Red Hook Brewing and Widmer Brothers Brewing. Behemoth brewer, AB In-Bev, owns a 32% share of the company and CBA currently trades on NASDAQ under the symbol BREW. In 2010, CBA added Kona Brewing Company to their stable of brands. CBA has also spawned Omission – a brand targeting the burgeoning category of gluten-free products (gluten free beer – yuck). Business-wise, they’ve certainly come a long way from 1984 when Kurt and Rob Widmer quit their day jobs to open a small brewery in Oregon. Beer-wise, many say that they’ve leaned away from the craft to become a bit too crafty. But like most products – the proof is in the pudding.

This one has all the indicators of a big rich beer. Summarizing its vitals, Chocolate has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 9.3%. As I’ve indicated many times in this blog, alcohol is thicker than water and a high ABV should deliver a full-bodied mouth feel. The original gravity (OG) comes in at a dense 21.5 degrees plato. Anything over 18 represents a recipe that starts with a high concentration of rich fermentable sugars (lots of ingredients). It also has a moderate International Bittering Unit (IBU) of 70. IBU scores rate the bitterness of a beer. In stouts, the bitterness can be derived from roasted grains (akin to coffee bitterness) and/or the citrus-like influence of hops.

Nice packaging. The wax-dipped neck gives it an artisan look. The label notes that this is the ninth release in the brother’s reserve series. A little background, this one was released in January alongside their KGB Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) and their Raspberry RIS. Chocolate is essentially their KGB with the addition of Ecuadorian cocoa nibs.

Not as opaque a pour as I expected. Aroma is mellow roasted grains with subtle chocolate. My first sip impression is that Chocolate is a bit over carbonated. Doesn’t come off as being very complex at all. Flavor is dominated by an overly bitter roasted flavor – almost sour. Surprisingly thin. Disappointing – 80 points.

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