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Top 100 Rated Beers of 2017

Delve into the best beers of the year as judged in BC's Official Review.

 

#8
Double Bass Mocha Double Chocolate Stout Starr Hill Brewery

96
by Dan Martich
Double Bass Mocha Double Chocolate Stout
Starr Hill Brewery

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Brewery Impressions
by Starr Hill head brewer Robbie O'Cain

Who was responsible for this beer's recipe?
This beer was developed by the Starr Hill brewing team, led by Brewmaster Robbie O'Cain. The base beer, Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout, was originally part of the draft-only Debut Series in January 2016. The Mocha version was brewed as part of a limited release variety pack this November called the Box of Chocolates Stout Variety Pack.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
For the base beer, it's all about the balance struck between the chocolate aspects of both the malt and the cocoa powder. Coffee can be tricky when adding to beers that already have a strong attribute (such as chocolate), as it can overtake those original attributes. This beer successfully takes two bold flavor characteristics and melds them together without any one aspect being overpowered by another. Again, it's all about balance.

What makes this beer truly World-Class?
This really comes down to the execution. Having a perfect recipe doesn't necessarily lead to a perfect beer. From additives to packaging, shipping to oxygen control, the execution was tremendous throughout the entire process of this beer. Flavors are subjective to the beholder, but execution is much more objective. This is particularly true given that this beer is brewed only with natural ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla beans and locally roasted coffee, which create an experience and flavor that simply cannot be captured by use of extracts or flavorings added to this beer.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
The flavor is the best, for me. That mocha characteristic, which can often be difficult to identify between chocolate and coffee together, is very well defined and both aspects enhance one another. The coffee isn't muddled, but rather a rich, true mocha -- especially when compared to a sugary or artificial flavor.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
This beer was released in November 2017 as part of our Box of Chocolates Stout Variety Pack. Overall, it's been amazing to see the response from fans about this pack in terms of reaction and how fast it went off shelves. Stouts are obviously not a huge volume driver as a style, so doing a variety pack could have been a risky move. But it seems like people are really interested in something different, particularly with a lot of IPA packs out there now. This limited release pack includes 3 variants of our Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout such as peppermint, chipotle, and mocha. Similar to other variant packs we've done before, there's often a split consensus over favorites in the pack with about 1/3 of folks ending up in each variant's camp. Everyone's got their own favorite!


Judge's Second Opinion
by Dan Martich

Double Bass Mocha Double Chocolate Stout by Starr Hill Brewery is being evaluated as a Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer (Category 30A) from the 2015 BJCP guidelines. 

The base beer is an imperial stout, which pours a very dark brown that's nearly opaque. A short cascading effervescence, reminiscent of a Guinness, develops in the glass after a vigorous pour. The dark tan head slowly builds the crown of this pleasant-looking beer. 

A soft aroma of roasted coffee salutes you up front, with little to no hops, and very low fruity esters. If you dig in, you’ll also smell a lactose sweetness that is reminiscent of a nice cup of coffee with milk and sugar.

The flavor of roasted coffee is followed by a milk chocolate note that is smooth and drinks like a malted shake. A pleasantly soft malt character is beneath this, and this beer’s finish is short with a semi-dry aftertaste. Light licorice notes develop as it warms.

The body and carbonation give it a creamy mouthfeel that is appropriately balanced. With all the dark roasted malts in this beer you won’t find any astringency, which exemplify the brewmaster’s capabilities. Finally, there’s a slight alcoholic warming quality to remind you that this is a big beer, without overwhelming the rest of the brew. 

Balance, balance, balance -- this beer embodies it. The flavors and aroma are in harmony with the base beer and complement the added coffee ingredient. An expertly made beer and highly drinkable. Quite perfect to make ice cream with, or to enjoy by the fire. Cheers!


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worthel's picture
So,I'm a member, but I must pay another two bucks to read the rest of this article? Are you kidding?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hello Worthel, Our magazine articles are premium content and are reserved for premium subscribers. We researched your account and it does not appear you have purchased a premium subscriptions. If you feel this is in error, you may complete a customer service ticket by clicking "account services" at the head of the website. Cheers! BC

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worthel's picture
So,I'm a member, but I must pay another two bucks to read the rest of this article? Are you kidding?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hello Worthel, Our magazine articles are premium content and are reserved for premium subscribers. We researched your account and it does not appear you have purchased a premium subscriptions. If you feel this is in error, you may complete a customer service ticket by clicking "account services" at the head of the website. Cheers! BC

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