Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #2 Mexican Hot Chocolate

Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #2 Mexican Hot Chocolate, Pontoon Brewing
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
92
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Appearance:
5 / 6
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20
Description 

We aged our BA Brownie Blend #2 on ancho, guajillo and arbol peppers, Mexican vanilla, dark muscovado sugar, cassia bark and Honduran cocoa nibs to create a sweet and spicy treat! Decadent, rich, and velvety, with big notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon caramel swirl, melted dark brown sugar, and vanilla upfront and fades into a chili pepper finish. Sweet with a bit of heat!

Profile

ABV: 
13.9%
Served at: 
60º F
Judges Review 
Rick Franckhauser's picture
Judges Rating:
92
Aroma:
22 / 24
Appearance:
5 / 6
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Barrel Aged Brownie Batter Blend #2 Mexican Hot Chocolate by Pontoon Brewing was judged as BJCP category 33B, Specialty Wood-Aged beer, with the underlying style category of 22C, Imperial Stout. This beer featured Ancho, Guajillo and Arbol chilies, Mexican vanilla, dark Muscovado sugar, Sasia bark and cocoa nibs.

The aroma opens with an intense deep, rich dark chocolate. An immediate impression of sweetness, likely a result of the presence of vanilla, can be discerned. Lower levels of alcohol, pipe tobacco and a slight spicy note, reminiscent of cinnamon are next up. Some rich dark malts are accompanied by a very low-level wood aspect. Some berry-like esters come through, maybe from the peppers. I’m not picking up any smoke or impressions of heat in the aroma. Complex and inviting. The beer falls into the “black hole” category of darkness. You pick up some very dark brown “highlights” when tilted and held to a bright light. A very slight head of dark brown creamy foam dissipates as quickly as it appeared. No trace of a head can be found after that. Appears viscous. This beer's got legs. 

The flavor allows the deep rich, unsweetened dark chocolate to shine through for a very brief moment before being overpowered by the pepper’s capsaicin. The heat is either replacing or aiding the bitterness in balancing the sweet malts. Tobacco notes appear mid-palate with some dried cherries. The alcohol is noted toward the finish and brings some additional fruity esters of prune and figs. The vanilla manages to make an appearance through the peppers in a moderately sweet finish. The balance is definitely toward the heat but is again countered by the rich, sweet, dark malts. Residual dark sugars in the aftertaste are reminiscent of molasses. Other than a touch of bourbon noted well into the aftertaste, the barrel character is completely integrated into the beer and specifically unidentifiable. Very full bodied and viscous but the prickling of the palate from the spicy peppers and the alcohol warmth keep it from being cloying. Low carb levels are present, but again, the heat does the job typically assigned to carbonation by lifting the stickiness off the palate. However, the heat is rather aggressive and biting, stinging the mouth.  

The underlying imperial stout seems terrific. The heat level will likely be overpowering for some. Personally, I would prefer a little less Arbol pepper to reduce the capsaicin level, as it was a little distracting. However, the heat did serve multiple purposes in balancing the beer and if the heat were reduced it would need to be replaced by some additional bitterness and carbonation. I expected a more distinct barrel character and some smokiness to come through. Pepper-infused beers are much like smoked beers, in that they take some time for palate acclimation. After adjusting to the heat, you begin to appreciate the other aspects of the beer. Upon acclimation, this beer is wonderfully complex. Take your time with this one; sip and ponder.
 

Brewery Introduction

What's the Pontoon Lifestyle? It's a way to embrace Southern leisure with a fresh, modern exuberance. It's that sweet lookin' party platform on the horizon, rocking out to your favorite tunes and waving the ol' Red White and Blue as high as she blows! Pontoon Brewing is inspired by the South's... Read More

Advertisement

Advertisement