Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout
Note: The Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout was reviewed by both John and Dad on different days and originally posted as two separate reviews. We usually do our combined reviews together in one post, so this post has been edited to bring you both reviews on one post.
Son Beer Love Review (March 12, 2008):
For what it’s worth the Foothills Sexual Chocolate is currently ranked as the #26 best beer in the world at RateBeer.com. That being said, you can imagine my glee when I found that our local Flying Saucer Draught Emporium had this sucker on tap. On tap. Again: on tap. In our findings getting a beer on tap will usually be enough to add a point to the overall rating. Think of Guinness from the can. Now think of Guinness on tap. You see my point. In my experience it can be tough to find a lot of the top beers on tap. The current number one beer in the world (Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout) is only served one day a year at the DarkLord Days at 3F Brewery. A lot can be said for supply and demand.
So I got my friend Ray to head over with me after work one night to have a glass or two and enjoy the, ahem, scenery (this bar is smack in the middle of the university area of Charlotte where lots of young twenty-something college students come to hang out). We got there, sat down and ordered up two on draft, though the waitress informed us that the $2.75 everything on draft special did not apply to the Sexual Chocolate. It should be noted here that having your waitress who is wearing an awfully short mini skirt and knee stockings utter the words “Sexual Chocolate” to you is worth whatever price difference you may have to endure (in this case $2.00 as we paid $4.75 for each glass). Also worth noting is that Sexual Chocolate is perhaps the best beer name in the entire world (it’s tough to say without thinking back to Coming to America and screaming it just like Eddie Murphy does – “Sexual Chocolate! Sexual Chocolate!”). A possible contender for best beer name would be the Flying Dog Doggie Style (Pale Ale). But I think Sexual Chocolate would be the hands down winner, if not just for the boldness of the beer.
Back on track – the Foothills Sexual Chocolate is an Imperial Stout, indicating a healthy amount of gravity (in this case 9.75%) and strong malt flavors. It’s brewed by Foothills Brewing over in Winston-Salem, NC and it’s a relatively new brewing company – established in 2004. This was on draft and was served up in a tulip glass. The head was fairly small (1/2″) but that may be due to a lack of knowledge on the server’s part – I feel like a good pour would have had a really decent head on it. The head was dark brown and creamy and laced fairly well on the glass, though it dissipated rather quickly. The color was opaque and seemed to be squarely black though the lighting wasn’t the best in there. There was little to no carbonation to speak of (in looking for bubbles to come up through the head).
The aromas were strong – dark chocolate, espresso, roasted malts and molasses. The initial flavor was a heavy sweet – the dark chocolate absolutely stands out in the taste and it’s wonderfully rich and velvety smooth. The taste echoes most of the aromas, but adds notes of earth and smoke to the mix. Very interestingly, there was no alcohol in the taste at all. There is a bit of a write-up at the Flying Saucer web site that details how it’s made:
…Sexual Chocolate is made with a no sparge technique, taking only the first runnings from the mash. This is completely undiluted wort. Made with black malt and roasted barley and chocolate in close equal proportions. 8 lbs of organic Peruvian cocoa nibs were infused with the imperial stout for about two weeks, accomplishing a cold alcohol extraction of the cocoa flavor.
The finish flavor is heavy sweet and lightly bitter with a long duration. The mouthfeel is creamy and the beer laces really well in the glass. On the malt to hop scale it dominates the malt side – most of the aromas and tastes are byproducts of the malts (dark chocolate, espresso, molasses and roasted flavors). I was surprised to find that it had an IBU of 85 – with the dominant malts whatever bitterness there is doesn’t come through much (it’s only slightly detectable in the finish).
Problem: It’s so smooth I can’t stop drinking it. It’s like chocolate milk for adults. Though I would say it only has an average complexity it is deceptively drinkable and a fantastic treat. Despite the obvious malt edge it balances pretty well. I’ve had chocolate stouts before and usually by the end of the glass they get pretty annoying. Not this bad boy – I had to cut myself off after the second glass and actually considered it when she asked if I wanted another. The fact that it was repeatable is what surprised me. The drinkability is there in droves, it was highly memorable and the wow factor was off the charts. I’d absolutely buy it again.
Ray asked if my rating (9 out of 10) had anything to do with the RateBeer rating. I gave it some thought but realized it would have emerged with the same rating regardless. The drinkability, uniqueness and harmony just add up to an almost perfect beer. There are very few high gravity beers I’d want more than one of in a sitting but this one hits that mark. Drink a few at home and put a bunch of pillows on the ground for when you pass out. Sexual Chocolate!
Father Beer Love Review (April 29, 2008):
The Beer Fairy came to my house and left me a bottle of this fine stout. I must be very, very good or very pitiful. I have read comments online saying what’s the big deal with the excitement about this stout? Let me say that I live in a vast Stout wasteland, 3 kinds of Guinness, Sierra Nevada, Mackeson and Beamish that’s being sold for half price because it is really old.
On the day I opened this I promised the Beer Fairy I would share this with the Lovely Mrs. Beer Love so I let it counter rest to a perfect 54.3F -12.1C temp. and poured two tulip glasses. The initial pour gave me a 1.5 inch creamy dark brown head that dissipated slowly and had virtually no head lacing. The color was opaque black and had little carbonation. Aromas were coffee, dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, perfume, earth, alcohol, black licorice, brown sugar and smoke. Taste were mostly the same but included dark dried fruits which reminded me of strong Belgium ale. Initial flavors were moderate sweet, light bitter and light saltiness. Finish flavors were heavy sweet, moderate bitter, light salty and light tart. The finish was long, mouthfeel was creamy and had virtually no body lacing. On the malt to hop scale I put it just to the malt side of balanced .
I found this incredibly complex, the taste in drinking were espresso and chocolate first later comes the anise taste. The malts just seem to last and last in the finish. It’s hard to believe the IBU is as high as it is. The taste stays on the back of the tongue for a long time. In the aroma the espresso comes through heavier than the chocolate but in the sipping the chocolate marches to the front. Wow! I had to limit myself to one glass the first time as it got hard to write well enough to read. I actually finished this over a period of 4 sittings. On the second sitting I tried it right out of the ice box to see if the cold changed the profile, chocolate and anise were stronger and almost no coffee aromas, taste were anise and molasses undertones. As it warmed to 54F the profiles went back where they were on first tasting. After the last was gone I thought about having my tongue bronzed.
I know your next question, why does it take you 4 sittings over 8 to 9 days to drink a 22 oz. bottle of beer? The answer is a story I heard a long time ago. Traveling salesman and a farmer sat down to dinner with the farmers family, in walked a pig wearing 2 gold medals and walking on 2 wooden legs to his own place at the table. The salesman asked the farmer about the pig. The farmer said that the 2 gold medals were for saving 2 of his children, one from a burning barn, the other from an icy pond – that’s why he eats with us. The salesman asked about the wooden legs. The farmer said “a pig that special you don’t eat all at once.”
Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout Rating: 10 out of 10 (?)
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