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Rick Franckhauser's picture

Judge's Review: 88 Rating - Hot Cocoa Stout by Low Road Brewing

February, 2023
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
5 / 6
34 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Hot Cocoa Stout by Low Road Brewing was judged as BJCP category 30 A Spice Herb Vegetable beer with chocolate and cinnamon, BJCP category 16B, Sweet Stout as the base style. The beer opens with a moderately high level of bittersweet chocolate in the aroma. There is a sweet cream, coffee undertone with a low level of roast and a touch of fruity esters. Somewhat of an impression of sweetness is found with clean fermentation. I am not getting any cinnamon in the aroma but what is there is luscious and inviting. The beer pours a deep clear brown hue with a nice creamy light beige head. The head drops a little quick to a wispy cap but lingers. I would expect more volume and retention.

The flavor is semi-sweet chocolate and gives a definite hot cocoa impression. There is a little caramel malt creeping through the chocolate. There is just enough hop bitterness and roast to keep the chocolate sweetness from dominating the finish, but it still remains solidly in the dessert beer realm. The cinnamon manages to make a slight showing in the finish and carries into the aftertaste. Just a touch of vanilla joins in with the long chocolaty aftertaste. A medium-full body is accentuated by the low carb levels. Mouth-coating but not viscous. I would like a touch more carbonation.

Overall, a very enjoyable dessert beer. Nice chocolate malt quality, creamy and satisfying. I think a touch more cinnamon, a slightly increased bitterness or roasted character would be welcome to balance things out a little, but if you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, this beer will do the trick.