This week has seen some true winter weather which means we are fully into porter and stout season. When you ask beer lovers the dominant flavors they taste in a porter or a stout the most common answers will probably be some variations of coffee and chocolate. Brewers are now brewing unique variations of these dark styles that take advantage of these roasted malt flavors. Many stouts are brewed with added coffee or chocolate, or complementary flavors like vanilla. One sub-set of stouts that is gaining in popularity is based on Mexican hot chocolate, a drink that mixes sweet and bitter chocolate with some sort of spicy element. A local example of this style is Muerte, a recent release from Backlash Brewing Company. Muerte starts with the same base as Backlash’s popular imperial stout Death but adds Madagascar vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, Scotch bonnet peppers and cold brewed coffee. Backlash Muerte is available for a limited time on draft and in 22 oz. bombers.
Backlash Muerte pours pitch black with a mild tan head. The scent is a mixture of roasted malt, vanilla, coffee and a little alcohol. The flavor is malt forward, notes of roasted barley, cappuccino, dark chocolate and some boozy sweetness. The adjunct ingredients all come through at various levels. The coffee is pretty strong, the vanilla is well represented and the cinnamon is mild. The Scotch Bonnet peppers add some pepper flavor, and then a little spicy heat as the beer warms. Muerte is a full bodied sipper, it weighs in at 10.5% ABV and you know you are drinking a big beer. The finish leaves a little dark malt, bitter coffee and heat from the peppers and the booze. This is a complex and interesting beer, definitely brewed for the more adventurous drinkers out there. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
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