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Biere De Chocolat - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Biere De ChocolatBiere De Chocolat

Educational use only; do not reuse.

36 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 36
Hads: 208
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 12.81%
Wants: 10
Gots: 17 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Trilogy31 on 01-28-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our Biere de Chocolat celebrates the long and lauded history of chocolate production in San Francisco. Our aim was to create a beer bursting with cocoa flavors and aromas, balancing sweet and savory to create a complex but quaffable chocolate brew. To accomplish this we partnered with Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco to create this rich brew brimming with chocolate character. Working with the unique flavors of Dandelion’s single-source beans, we created this decadent beer by layering in smoked and dark-roasted malts with citrusy Ivanhoe hops from Clearlake, CA. Finally, we added a blend of hand-roasted cocoa beans sourced from Madagascar and Río Caribe, Venezuela. The Madagascar beans add bright berry-cocoa flavors, while the Río Caribe adds dark chocolate and bourbon notes. A touch of vanilla rounds out the supporting flavors to create an eminently drinkable beer that is a chocolate lover’s beer through and through.
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Reviews: 36 | Hads: 208
Photo of GRG1313
2.4/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

While I don't fully review much these days, I just can't keep quiet on this one. My first reaction is that I got a bad bottle; but, that's pretty much impossible since it's brand new and tasted immediately. I also confirmed by opening a second bottle.

Pours a dark "stout brown" with a nice but fast fading khaki head.

Nose is lovely creamed sugared coffee and chocolate with a chocolate/cherry undertone. Very inviting and pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium thin but nicely carbonated. Mouthfeel is relatively insignificant as it is overshadowed by the questionable (in my mind) flavor profile.

Flavors are just not balanced; not well integrated and "not made for each other." The flavors are very distinct and the juxtaposition doesn't work. Huge bitter bold and assertive citrus and pine hops; like a good strong IPA type of hop flavor. At the same time, you get assertive malt, chocolate and a roasted grain flavor, almost like it's on the other side of your mouth. There is simply no balance and no integration. The hops come off bitter and sour and not in a good way. While at the same time what might be a nice malt character is completely overshadowed by an unpleasant assertive hop bitter.

Finish is completely short bitter hops with no malt or chocolate tones.

This brew is an anomoly and, for me, hard to believe it was done on purpose. It's like pouring two styles of beer into one glass, the result being that the total is much less than the sum of its parts. Just my opinion but the flavors just fight too much in my mouth. No need to try again, at least for me.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

I'm 0 for 2 on Almanac's beers, so I'm hoping this'll be better. "Ale brewed with Coca Nibs and Vanilla." 5.5% ABV according to my bottle. I like the stylish label; blue etched on brown glass. 12 fl oz bottle with branded standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger nice light tan colour head of pretty good cream, nice thickness, a bit of froth, and average (~2 minute) retention. Thin insubstantial lacing as the head recedes. Body colour is a predictable solid black. Nontransparent and opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's standard fare for the style; nothing special or unique, but no overt flaws. There's nothing wrong with that. Unlike some, I don't mind a beer brewed to conventions.

Sm: The first thing I get is chocolate. Then I realize it seems way too hoppy for a porter. I get vanilla bean; often with these upstart breweries any vanilla is artificial vanillicin but this comes off genuine. I like that. The label claims smoke; that's definitely not detectable here. Roast is missing. Boy, that floral hop character really turns me off to it; it's way too heavily hopped. Dark malts. An average strength aroma.

T: Somewhat bland chocolate malt comprises the first half, with vanilla carrying the mantle - and boy is it overdone. Too sweet, almost cloying. I don't get much smoke at all; I don't know what that's about. Floral hopping destroys the balance, coming through far more than it should and ruining the focus of the beer. Where's the roast? Too sweet. A messy beer with no sense of balance. Lacks complexity and subtlety. Actually there's no subtlety here at all. I do like what they're going for, but they really missed the mark. If I had to pick a "favourite" note, I'd go with the chocolate, which feels like cocoa powder rather than generic chocolate malt. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Too bitter.

Mf: Smooth and wet, just as it should be. Carbonation is almost there - just a touch overdone. Thickness is good. Palate presence is decent. It's got enough body, and suits the style, but the flavour profile just isn't there to meet it. It's a bit lumpy, which I don't like. Like powdered cocoa mix mixed with milk.

Dr: Overall, I'm underwhelmed - but there's potential here. I'll revisit Almanac but so far I've been disappointed. Still, I don't view them as hopeless; they're trying interesting things and I applaud that. If they could just get the execution up to par! Hides its ABV well. It's fairly drinkable, but the lack of quality really holds it back. It's a badly done porter with interesting ambition.

Low C-

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Photo of ehammond1
2.71/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Appropriate pour: dark brown, near black, and moderate in body. Small dark brown head. Leaves the glass slightly messy.

Aroma of roast, a bit of coffee, and some chocolate, though it's not exactly integrated into one altogether nicely. Inviting, however.

Any flaw in the aroma is a standout in the flavor; the individual flavors just don't seem to come together that well. A hoppy, bitter, piney porter, with just trace amounts of inexpensive chocolate and coffee. Not what I was looking for when I ordered this, so that may color this even further, unfortunately.

Thin to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

A coffee chocolate black IPA, maybe, but not a chocolate porter. I ended up quite disappointed in this.

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Photo of popery
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours wall to wall black. Big, puffy, khaki head. The head foams up aggressively before settling into a thick blanket of fine foam. I’m mostly getting milk chocolate from the aroma, though some other aromas come in once I get used to it. At first blush, it legitimately smells like a dessert made with lots of milk chocolate. Big vanilla note, too. Smells very sweet. Hops provide a mix of floral and citrus and actually detract a bit from the aroma for me. I thought the chocolate seemed off, but the hops just add a funny twist. Still, it’s overall a nice smelling beer. On the other hand, the taste is oddly harsh and just seems like a mess of clashing flavors. A fairly bland citric hop bitterness dominates the beer. Unfortunately, the sweeter flavors are mostly just an over the top vanilla tone. The chocolate is way too weak, particularly after the promise of the aroma. Plus, it’s not a rich flavor, closer to baker’s chocolate than anything. Lingering hop and roast bitterness. Mouthfeel starts out way too effervescent, gets creamy before it just thins out too much. Generally, too thin, though. The carbonation is off, particularly for a porter. It just takes away from the flavors. I liked this one better on tap, so this bottle is fairly disappointing.

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Photo of impending
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

B -

Hopmonk Novato. Dark dense fully opaque with walnut highlights, minor tan head, minimal lacing.

Aroma is properly roasty but not finding the level of chocolate I hope for, bittersweet.

The taste too is far from expectation, which seems now undeserved but all the same this is a simply wonderful name for a brew but it is so far from deserving of the name. If this was called BDC Porter I say it was a fine brew and indeed it is, but . . . . . . .
so it is when you are allergic to marketing

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Provisions, in the Circle in Orange, CA.

For Raul's 200th review, he got himself his first Almanac and he is none to impressed. After letting this thang lie out for a while like Sue Hayes in Lolita, the flavors were still insipid and uninspired. I mean, why make a Porter if the taste and mouthfeel is that of a chocolate coke that has been sitting opened in the fridge for 3 weeks? It's not as if this thing is repulsive like waking up next to Lindsay Lohan without make up on, but it's not exactly welcoming either. Average at best.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.34/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Almanac's Biere De Chocolat, ale brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla. 5.5%

A: Black, with dark brown in the dimple, and a golden amber glare at the very bottom. About half a finger of tan head. Very slight lacing. Slight sheeting.

S: Cocoa. Lightly roasted coffee. Faint blackened grain.

T/MF: Char. Black coffee. Sweet backnote. Light finish of dark cocoa. Hint of leaf.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of rawfish
3.34/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours very dark like coffee, with a thin half finger tan head. Retention is poor but it manages to leave some nice tight lacing on the glass.

Aroma is bready with uplifting and creamy milk chocolate and hot cocoa. A bit of metallic bitterness and coffee beans.

Grain husks with a good amount of chocolate and stale coffee flavor. Sweetness fades quickly. Hops are earthy and vegetative leaving a metallic bitterness to finish. Rather astringent and unpleasant bitterness and aftertaste.

Body is drinkable, alcohol toned and carbonation is just enough to keep it afloat. Bitterness really gets to the palate, metallic and dry.

An astringent porter that has some nice chocolate and roasty notes. The roasted malts are overdone introducing acidity and metallic bitterness. I recognize the herbaceous hops and bracing and balanced but really this beer feels like it should have embraced its sweeter chocolate side.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 9.5.13

A - Pours a dark brown with a large dark tan foamy head that fades pretty fast.

S - Mostly malty with some subtle bitter chocolate.

T - Light bitter chocolate.

D - Thin body with good carbonaiton.

O - Thin bitter chocolate. Ok, but not great.

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Photo of beertunes
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a solid black color, no translucence, with 3/4 inch of light brown head that had OK retention and good lacing.

The aroma was almost all chocolate (which is a good thing!) and a very light malt presence. On the tongue, the beer was still mostly chocolate, but t he malt showed through a bit more, and there was a slight roast on the finish.

The body was thinner than I prefer for a Porter, and the roast aspect lingered at the back long enough to erase any memory of the chocolate. The beer was very smooth, which contributed to the easy drinkability of this brew. Overall, a very nice brew, certainly worth trying, and pretty close to a must try, if you see it.

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Photo of bierdeflanders
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

S: roasted malt, chocolate, hints of vanilla

A: black with tan head

T: roasted malts, some cocoa and vanilla notes, with a light bitterness from malts on the finish

O: good dessert bier, would pair this with some vanilla cake or some kind of vanilla dessert.

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Photo of mahak213
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Black with hints of brown around the edges of the glass. Light brown, chocolately head with minimal lacing. Pretty standard looking porter.

Smell- Smells great, a really nice dark chocolate presence with a touch of vanilla sweetness and roasty malt.

Taste- Big let down compared to the nose, the cocoa is there, but it's muted and very bitter. Vanilla is nowhere to be found. Has a bit of an astringency, like an overly roasted coffee or something.

Mouthfeel- Very light. Finished extremely dry, almost chalky.

Overall- Pretty one dimensional and boring, but not terrible. Would be significantly better if it had just a touch of sweetness to balance out all of the heavy roast and bitter cocoa.

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown bordering on black with a finger of mocha colored cap. Nose and taste mirror eachother with dark roasted malts, earth, a light roasted note. The taste does bring a slight hop bitterness along with a dry bitter chocolate taste, the chocolate brings it together but you do not pick it up until the very end. Interesting beer not bad but far from great, not sure if i selected the right style for this beer.

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Photo of VincentFrey
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour / Appearance: Pours with a thick, resilient head. An opaque black with purplish edges that reflects all around. Much darker than I expected for a 5.5% beer, and good for it. Certainly amps me up for the chocolate in its appearance, but since this is an unusual styling, I'm not entirely sure how to evaluate. Mocha and tan head. It's good looking, sure, but seems like it might be an overuse of dark malts than a purposeful decision given how little (proportionally) would be needed to get a dark but interesting stout that lacks the opacity here.

Aroma: Heavy, heavy chocolate, with faint notes of (oddly?) pilsen, vienna or victory, and higher crystals in the back. It all holds together well, save for the overpowering chocolate.

Flavor: Well this is neat! Not necessarily great, but neat. It uses an odd combination of very earthy hops to accent the heavy dose of chocolate, creating two competing tastes that weirdly make the beer a more balanced whole. Little to no yeast esters, so not a chocolate biere de garde, but a nice little dessert. There's not a whole lot to say, as once you accept that this tastes like Hershey's chocolate, pine resin, and grass, it's about all that's there.

Overall: It's a weird little beer that'd probably be a treat at parties or to complement dessert. Probably better with a meal than on it's own.

Bottom Line: Try a bottle if you like chocolate. Avoid if you don't.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours pitch black. Produced a huge head of frothy tan colored foam. Great retention and lacing left over.

(S)- Lots and lots of rich cocoa and chocolate. Mild roasted malts meets some subtle raisin.

(T)- not near enough chocolate from the smell. In fact, it is quite heavier on the raisin and a nutty caramel roasted malt sweetness instead.

(M)- The carbonation level is really high for a porter; it kind of masks some of the richer flavors sadly.

(O)- Its pretty good, but could be so much better with a toned down carbonation level for starters.

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Photo of FocusDave
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown, almost opaque. Barely a half finger of tan colored head with only a minute or two of retention.

S - Mostly malt with a little bit of chocolate.

T - Strong toasted malt sweetness up front. Finish is more of a bitter chocolate than sweet.

M - Very thin and light mouthfeel. Maybe I've just gotten used to more full bodied stouts, but this has very little body.

O - Not bad by any means, but I was expecting the chocolate to be more of a sweet flavor, rather than a thin bitter one.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

5.5% ABV per the label.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy latticework of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa nibs, and vanilla aromas. Taste is much the same with dark chocolate and chocolate syrup flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice aroma but the flavors are more bitter and roasty than the smell would lead you to believe.

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Photo of mactrail
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark in the snifter with a modest foam and carbonation. Malty with a bare hint of burnt sugar sweetness at first. Thin body with a slight slick mouthfeel.

Tastes exactly like bitter chocolate on the first sip. Quite dry and melts away to a mineral, bitter finish. I don't sense much hop flavor, but supposed to be brewed with the aromatic Ivanhoe (California Cluster) hops. A hint of cocoa and some dark roasted grain. Quite drinkable and admirably austere for a chocolate-flavored beer, unless you like the sweet, milky variety.

Found this and a couple other Almanac beers at Bine & Vine in San Diego in 12 oz bottles. I took the photo.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, thanks Johnny.

Pours a dark cola brown with a thin tan head, slowly fades to a thin collar, little lace. Rich nose, chocolate heavy, dark and sweet, cocoa, light roast. Medium bodied, with very high carbonation. Flavor has a roast base, with a strong earthy and dirty component not obvious on the nose that balances the bitter chocolate presence. Nowhere near as sweet or rich as the nose suggests; not a bad thing, but the carbonation is a little overbearing enough to hide any nuisance in the flavor.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a dark and (surprise, surprise) chocolaty brown with a small head of light tan, miniscule bubbles. In body, the beer appears clean, but opaque, with nothing of the other side of the glass coming through. On the nose, the beer smells of seaweed salad, milk chocolate, light roast coffee, butter, Hershey’s chocolate, soft vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate Easter bunnies, and quite a lot more. The nose is actually quite simple and delicate, but in its delicacy it seems to smell like something different every time I stick my nose in it. The chocolate is definitely present in the nose, but is so nuanced and complex that, to my nose, it kind of smells like all of the chocolates of the world. On the tongue, the beer tastes of sweet vanilla and bitter coffee/dark chocolate roast. Dark fruit acidity moves in towards the finish to give depth to the sip, while the sweet vanilla and roast continue to coat the tongue. In flavor, the beer tastes dominantly of vanilla with only subtle complexities coming from the other ingredients. As you sip, you get notes of roast coffee, dark chocolate, buttery chocolate, chocolate covered raisins, and even some plum character, but these all play second fiddle to a thick blanket of sweet vanilla. The vanilla is not off putting, and is actually rather nice, but it’s too bad that it dominates the other flavors. Vanilla and bitter roast coffee blend on the finish, which is nice as the coffee notes definitely go toe-to-toe with the vanilla and help to calm it. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, with a middling carbonation that does add a nice scrub to the tongue and keeps this beer from being too dry. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left quite wet with saliva, suggesting a stronger presence of acidity than I originally detected. Overall, this is a nice flavored porter. I do wish the chocolate flavors were a little more dominant in the flavor, since it is called “Biere de Chocolat,” but the vanilla is nice too. It’s a good transition into spring beer, however, and would do lovely paired with desserts.

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Photo of flexabull
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Nice pour, dark brown, almost black with a fine off white head, nice lacing down the glass too.

Aromas are of bitter bakers chocolate. A definite hop note, that is pretty earthy.

Taste is light up front, some creamy sweetness, light cocoa and roasted nuts. Finish is crisp and clean, with some light mineral hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thin and lacks body.

Overall, a pretty nice porter. Almanac redeems themselves with this one, because the Extra Pale I had before was pretty forgettable. But this is pretty tasty and worth trying.

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Photo of Dope
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark, rich brown with a large, effervescent light brown head. Nice head retention with speckled bits of lacing left behind.

S: Lots and lots of chocolate. Reminds me a lot of Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout in fact. Creamy sweet chocolate. Simple but delicious.

T: Lots of chocolate up front. Shocking, I know. Roasted malt actually pokes through here with some smoke and char in the middle. A hint of vanilla in here too. Sweetness fades away into the finish, lending a bitter, almost acrid smoke and char flavor with hints of bitter bitter dark chocolate.

M: Somewhat thin and borderline watery (only 5.5%) but creamy and smooth at the same time.

O: Not bad at all. Nice light chocolate porter. Chocolate is tasty and prevents this beer from being a little too simple. Light and easy drinking. Nice!

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Photo of snaotheus
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz capped bottle poured into a pair of Georgetown samplers. Fridge temp. No visible dates or codes.

Pours black with a light brown medium sized head that fades fairly quickly into a lumpy layer that looks like it's gonna stick around. Opaque, with light carbonation. Smell is very portery -- maybe a little milder on the roasty character than I would expect, and a little stronger on the dark fruit. There is some other aroma there that I'm having trouble placing. Something just on the edge of my consciousness...something green. But I can't place it.

Taste is dominated by chocolate. Still a nice roasty character, very light fruity character. Surprisingly light and drinkable.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and light. Overall, pretty good beer.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: extremely dark body with a thick finger of frothy tan foam atop. Quite good.

Smell: lightly sweet with a nice chocolate character and a little bit of vegetal hop coming through. Mild, but well-composed; it kind of reminds me more of a milk stout than a porter.

Taste: a little bit more roasty character and husk bitterness comes through in the flavor, compared to the aroma. Chocolate notes are still here, and bitterness is somewhat high to balance out the sweetness. Not the most complex thing in the world, but quite nice.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big, well-integrated carbonation and this amazingly harmonious, velvety-smooth creaminess. Shazam!

Overall: a very nice beer. Like I said, don't come here if you're looking for big-flavored complexity; come here instead for a soothing, relaxing brew.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle purchased from Ales Unlimited in San Francisco. Cost me $0 because they only had the 6-pack price in the system, so they chucked it in for free. Nice.

Pours a dark, oily brown with some ruby tinges to it. Head forms frothily at the start, but settles out to very little, just some messes of off-white around the edge of the glass. Looks decent, but without anything that really impresses.

Nose is very pleasant. Broad sweet chocolate aromas rise up early, with some structure to the malt behind it. Early, when it's a bit cooler, there's a light peppery note to it as well which creates some interest. As it warms, it's chocolate all the way.

Taste is also good, but without a big sweetness in richness on the back to really carry the chocolate illusion. Cocoa comes through early, dusty and dry with a true cacao bitterness that comes through pleasantly towards the back. This dries it out, preventing the beer from getting cloying—but to be honest, I wouldn't mind a bit of cloy on this beer.

Feel is rich, despite the dry finish in the flavour. It's like it's set up for a better flavour profile, as though they're future proofing it against tweaks they may do—it makes me believe that this beer could be even better in the future.

It's still a really great beer—for a brewery that prides itself on its sours, I'm impressed at how smooth and sweet they make this beer. It's really very drinkable and enjoyable, even though you probably feel like it's more of a gimmick than a sophisticated brew.

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Biere De Chocolat from Almanac Beer Co.
83 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.