The first thing to say about this beer is that the name comes from the ingredients and not the taste; it doesn’t taste like chocolate and it isn’t sweet. This is a “dry” malty beer, mildly hopped. If you’re into beer styles, it’s somewhere between a stout and a mild. There is a bitterness in the beer but not really from the hops, more from the bitter “chocolate” ingredients (more below)
This is the darkest beer on sale in the Bolthole range (but not the darkest in the range … that has yet to come).
It is a soft introduction to dark beers, which can be challenging for the uninitiated.
The chocolate in the name comes from 2 sources:
- Chocolate Malt. This is just normal malted barley roasted to a chocolate colour and nothing to do with chocolate the confection. This more highly roasted malt tends to make a beer more astringent and biscuity than pale ales
- Cocoa nibs. Organic Peruvian raw chocolate with no sweetener. I crush them with the malt and add them to the mash. This provides a bitterness like bitter chocolate which is more gentle than hop bitterness.
Then apart from the pale malt, the final ingredient in the mash is a dark crystal malt – this provides a source of unfermented or residual sugar in the beer which round out the favour and provide a nice body.
Hops don’t play a major part in this beer … they are there (Goldings for goodness sake) but malt is the driving characteristic of the beer
Put all this together and you get a dark brown beer with a robust creamy head. A rich bitter chocolate biscuit of a drink, fantastic with wholemeal bread and cheese or around a bonfire.