Jason Fields & Kevin Sheppard / Stone / Troegs – Cherry Chocolate Stout

Tasting: September 23, 2011
Style: Stout

And Stone week continues on…my third Stone blog this week. This time it’s another collaborative effort from Stone Brewing – this time they’ve teamed up with a pair of home brewers from San Diego – Jason Fields and Kevin Sheppard, as well as Troegs Brewery (Harrisburg, PA). Stone hosted the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA) rally this past Spring and the pair’s Cherry Chocolate Stout took first prize out of forty entries. Stone in their usual cool treatment of novice brewers, decided to take the recipe and brew it on a grand scale (about 2,500 cases produced). Troegs of Pennsylvania was brought in for their expertise in utilizing cherries and chocolate in beer. Cherries are tricky – the combination of cherries and a high ABV may remind some of cherry flavored medicine. This one’s ABV checks in at 7.3% — so it shouldn’t have much alcohol burn.

One other bit of information I picked up – nine thousand pounds of cherries were used to brew the sixty-thousand bottles of this stout — that equates to about two and a half ounces of cherries per bottle. That’s a decent amount of cherries. The IBU of this stout is only 37 – so, I wouldn’t expect heavy roasted grains here. They’ve used vanilla beans to add some complexity.

Pours dark, coffee colored head. Chocolate aroma. First couple of sips and they’ve done a nice job of balancing the cherry with a basic stout. I commented in my post on Founder’s Cerise that it was like they used a nail to connect an ale and a cherry liquor. This isn’t the case with this one. Definitely no medicinal qualities at all. The cherry acts as a perfect accent to the chocolate base. the cherries are slightly bitter, slightly sweet. It’s a little light in the body. I can’t say that I love it — but it isn’t bad. I’ll put it at a firm 84 points.

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