This Boi Is C H O N K Y: Wide Awake

This Boi Is C H O N K Y: Wide Awake, Pontoon Brewing
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
88
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Appearance:
6 / 6
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20
Description 

You're MINT to grab this sweet stout to power through Thanksgiving weekend! This Chonky Boi features coffee, mint and cocoa; a refreshing combination to add to your collection!

Profile

ABV: 
7.5%
Served at: 
50 - 55º F
Judges Review 
David Sapsis's picture
Judges Rating:
88
Aroma:
21 / 24
Appearance:
6 / 6
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
16 / 20

This Boi Is C H O N K Y: Wide Awake by Pontoon Brewing is being judged against BJCP category 20A, vegetable/herb/spice beer. It was served in a large snifter at 50oF.

Within the confines of performing single-blind evaluations, it can sometimes be hard determining the best-fit category to base the review against. Increasingly, the commercial market is being tested against historic beer and style profiles, and in general I think this is a good thing. However, sometimes some or parts of how a beer is labeled can create some discord between established styles and new, emerging and adventurous examples. In practice here, I have taken to having my assistant convey small font information on the label to help make sure what I think the beer represents, and how it might be best assigned to a taxonomic class -- often these hard-to-find bits of information prove important. In the case under consideration here, the beer is labeled a "Sweet Stout," which, with no other information, has me thinking medium strength, roasty-sweet stout of English provenance, with notable elements of lactose creaminess from milk sugar being very sweet and unfermentable by ale yeast. However, additional to the "milk stout", in small text underneath, we find "with coffee, mint and chocolate," and in smaller font yet, 7.5% alcohol. So, this beer is a sweet-milk stout of fairly high strength, flavored up with some assertive agents not typical to generic milk stout.

The beer is deep brown-opaque and throws a medium cocoa head that dissipates in seconds. Conditioning appears quite low. The nose reveals very pronounced elements of the added flavors coming across extremely sweet and extremely chocolaty, with a big splash of spearmint to compliment. It’s really hard to pick up much else in the nose, including alcohol or coffee – it’s just one big blast of dark chocolate and mint with a super-rich and sweet body. As the beer warms further, and with swirling, the massive overt chocolate does diminish slightly, but the mint persists seemingly stronger yet, and some alcohol and dark espresso notes emerge. 

The flavor profile mimics the nose but comes off even more extreme: massive deep and rich dark chocolate dominate the early palate with a fleeting herbal bitterness that seems to last a nanosecond, then a very long, very sweet middle and late palate of chocolate mint wrapped in a very thick and creamy-viscous package. The finish is extremely sweet, and the mouthfeel is among the thickest I can recall evaluating. The finish seems to have no residual roast barley/malt expression, but rather it seems to be all coffee and chocolate (with a side of mint).

Overall, the beverage is more candy than beer, and indeed that may be what was intended. Curious as to the cause of the depth of sweetness in the finish, I measured the residual gravity first with a refractometer, and then wanting a verification, with a hydrometer. The final gravity was 14.5 Plato, or, said another way, right near the upper limit starting gravity range shown in the style guidelines for sweet/milk stout. Given this profile and accounting for the declared alcohol level, we are looking at a starting gravity of something on the order of 28oP/1.120 o.g. and apparent attenuation of ~50%. I suppose that roundly takes it out of the low-cal category!

So, what do I really think of this beer? As a pastry or dessert stout the flavors are well-matched and the chocolate in particular, is fine-tasting and well-expressed, and the mint – while fairly strong – still plays second fiddle to the chocolate and the chocolate/espresso in the late flavors. I do believe that I would like the beer a bit more with a tad more bitterness and less unfermented sugar, but that's just me. Those folks who are keen on highly sweet foods, love thin mints and beer will probably be over the moon for this one. I would comment on something to eat with this, but it's almost a meal in itself owing to the sweet and chewy character. Adding a dessert to go with this beer seems redundant.

 

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

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