Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout

By on January 10, 2011 @ 7 PM (No Comments)

For our latest installment of the John and Dad Thursday review series we hit the Lump of Coal from Ridgeway Brewing in the UK. Technically the Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout, we’re aiming to find out if it hits the mark as a Christmas beer.

The Lump of Coal comes in at 8% ABV in its 1 pint, 0.9 oz (500 ml) bottle. For our initial pour into our tulip glass we got an average 1 1/2″ light brown creamy head and a starting beer temperature of 48.6 F. There was a fair to good amount of head lacing left towards the top of the glass as it dissipated slowly into the depths below. It’s almost solid black with some occasional hints of ruby and there was a soft amount of carbonation.

For the aroma profile we got burnt malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, black licorice, light brown sugar, soy sauce and vanilla. Not a hop to be had that we could detect.

Our initial flavors came in with a moderate sweet and a very light bitter, followed by a light sweet, light bitter and light salty in the finish. Our tastes came in with regular chocolate (not dark chocolate like the smell), coffee, molasses, roasted malts (not burnt like the smell), black licorice and dark brown sugar (not light brown sugar like the smell). It’s got a nice bittersweet chocolate taste to it. Initially the coffee taste is in the background and the chocolate taste is in the foreground, but the coffee gets stronger in the finish.

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is creamy and the tongue hit is all in the back. There was no body lacing to speak of as the beer levels went down and on the malt to hop scale it comes in 2.5 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side. Very nicely malted – right where we like it.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony and buy again. We got a no to memorable and wow factor.

Is it a Christmas beer? Not really. There was none of the spicy, warming notes we tend to think of in Christmas beers, but it is a good solid stout. It’s actually a highly drinkable stout – if not for the 8% ABV it could be a good session beer. The finish fades pretty fast for a dark stout, which is surprising, but means it’s not too overpowering. It might be a good conversion stout for someone really wanting to get into stouts. Not bad at all and definitely worth picking up and trying, especially if your tastes run more to the dark side.

Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

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