On January 25th, Stone Brewing Company released their 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout as a part of their 20th Anniversary Encore Series. The 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout was originally released in 2008 to celebrate … well, uh, Stone’s 12th Anniversary. After that, despite being extremely well-received, this beer was retired. Fortunately, as a part of the 20th Anniversary celebration this beer was re-released and G-LO was lucky enough to secure a bottle.
When G-LO offered to split a bottle during one of our “parenting” nights (why the Benevolents leave us alone with our urchins still shocks me!), I was most definitely his huckleberry. Since I’m a big fan of stouts (I particularly love chocolate stouts!), I immediately jumped at the chance to try this limited edition beer from Stone. As an East Coast guy, I’ve never been full-on in love with all beers West Coast. I think some of the brewers are fantastic, while others are really no better (some might actually be worse) than brewers in my own neck of the woods. To me, Stone is one of those fantastic exceptions as I’ve found the majority of their beers to be incredibly well-crafted. From their selection of ingredients, to the actual brewing, right down to the bottle with their iconic labels, the good people at Stone have proven time and again that they really know what their doing.
Who knew a worldwide hop shortage in 2008 would give rise to such a memorable, delicious beer? When it came time to craft a commemorative offering for our 12th anniversary, we decided to trade in the bitterness of hops for the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate, and paired that with flaked oats. Featuring a thick, rich, roasty mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromas, this onyx-colored, malt-forward beauty became an instant classic that shares space on our liquid trophy case alongside our hop-focused fan favorites.
And now for my impressions…
- ABV: 9.2%
- Appearance: Murky with a beautiful layer of tan foam.
- Aroma: Dark chocolate nibs, roasted coffee, a hint of vanilla and a little doughy.
- Taste: Medium mouthfeel, with more bitterness than sweetness. Not as much chocolate as I would like but still quite good.
Once again, Stone did not disappoint. I would have liked a little more chocolate and a little less of the roasted coffee notes, but I thought this one was just fantastic. The blend of flavors was so well-balanced and the finish is exceptional. I missed this when it was first released in 2008 and couldn’t be happier that Stone decided to re-release this in January.