Nick Carr on December 11, 2017 0 Comments Photo Credit: Rogue Ales & Spirits Quick Characteristics Brewery Rogue Ales & Spirits Location Newport, OR Style Blend of Ales / Sweet Stout (?) Ingredients A blending of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar & Rogue Chocolate Stout ABV 5.7% IBU 75 Hops Rogue Farms Rebel, Revolution, and Independent Hops Malts 2-Row, Munich, Crystal 120, Crystal 75, Coffee Malt, Brown; Rogue Farms Dare and Risk Malts Shelf Life Approximately 1 year Suggested Glass Mug or Nonic Pint Serving Temp 50-55°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Chocolate Beef Stew, Spicy Beef Barbecue, Brie, German Chocolate Cake, Hazelnut Cheesecake Leave it to Rogue to come up with such a delicious sounding name as Hazelutely Choctabulous. This beer has been out for almost a year, though this is the first I’ve seen of it in my area. What drew me to this particular offering from Rogue was, well… the name for one, but also it’s a blended beer. Blending beer isn’t new. In fact it’s likely the practice stretches all the way back to the beginnings of brewing. Blending has long been associated with sours and wild fermentations. Lambics are often blended, and the beer style Gueuze is made by artfully blending 1 year old, 2 year old, and 3 year old lambic. In the 18th century, publicans would blend younger ales with beer that had gone slightly sour to create a somewhat tart beer with much more complexity than the young beer could muster on its own. There are possibly two reasons for this blending. First, in some cases, it likely allowed a publican to sell beer that, because of souring, would have been unsalable on its own. In other cases, and depending on the type or style, blending older beer with younger, would help “age” the younger beer, and the publican didn’t have to wait as long to sell it. Today, beer is blended for a variety of reasons. A single vintage might be blended to create consistency. A batch of beer might be blended, not to create consistency, but instead to highlight something special about that batch. Multiple vintages are often blended to create nuanced complexity. Two styles can also be blended to create something new entirely. This last one is what we see with Rogues Hazelutely Choctabulous. They took 40% of their Chocolate Stout and blended it with 60% of their hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale. The story goes that some of the regular patrons at Rogue have been drinking this blend from the tap for over a decade and Rogue finally decided to share the love with all their fans across the country. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Rogue’s Hazelutely Choctabulous. If you tasted this beer or have a pint in front of you as you read this review, please share your thoughts or tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Hazelutely Choctabulous pours an opaque dark brown. Held to good light, the darker interior is rimmed with a lightly glowing brown halo. Mocha head rises to about two fingers, dropping back to just a skim across the surface within a couple of minutes after pouring. Clarity and carbonation are secrets left to the depth at this point. Aroma is… well, well, of sweet chocolate and undercurrents of hazelnut. Not surprising. It also carries some slight roastiness. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the body is big, round, and sweet. Carbonation is low allowing the chocolate smoothness to slide unchallenged across the palate. Get nice smooth roasty chocolate with hints of coffee at the front. At the midpoint, the hazelnut jumps in with the chocolate, a nutella-like feel, but darker and a bit more bitter. It reminds me a bit of the Lindt Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut bars that were such a big part having a Swiss grandmother. It’s got a slight, but surprising bitter punt to it that does well to balance some of the sweet. The finish is dry and roasty, and the aftertaste is really just a subtle reminder of the whole; bitter chocolate with light draws of hazelnut. FINISHING THOUGHTS I’d call this blended beer a sweet stout, though slightly more bitter than other common examples. It’s a good representation of a lactose-free example of the style. It brings a depth of nice chocolate, nut, and offsetting bitterness that play well together. It is sweet, delicious, and decadent; and it does somewhat remind of a Swiss bar of hazelnut chocolate so, the advertised “Candy Bar in a Bottle” does play, though I don’t think I’d compare it to any common American candy bar I know of. And like a candy bar, it’s not something I’d want to have all the time. It’s a nice change from other beers out there and something that might go over particularly well around Valentine’s Day. Pair it with some chocolate hearts or a cheese cake, and your significant other will sit up and take notice.