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Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) - Muskoka Brewery

Not Rated.
Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)

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BA SCORE
87
very good

136 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 23
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Muskoka Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mrnobody on 12-05-2010

Our Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is rich and sturdy with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. Pair that with a slightly higher alcohol content and you'll find yourself sharing this bottle of joy all winter long.

25 IBU
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 61
Photo of BeerWatcher
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2013 edition, which was produced in 2012, aged by Muskoka for a full year, purchased by me in 2013, and then further aged by me for an additional year, trying it for the first time today. Very dark brown , bordering on black with very slight reddish hilights in the light. One finger off off-white head, that leaves behind some truly beautiful lacing. Aromas of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Some cranberries, and I believe some mint hilights too. A nice creamy palate introduces tastes of cocoa, vanilla bean, and a hint of red fruits dancing in the background on the swallow. Between their aging and my aging, this is just velvet on my tongue. Good on you Muskoka for producing this gem.

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle served fairly cold into a pint glass. Awesome looking bottle with cork and cage. Only downside is that it's about $14 CDN.

Appearance - dark brown nearly black in color. Small half finger of head is poured and recedes quickly. Opaque as hell.

Smell - exactly as you'd expect. Lots of dark chocolate and cranberry. I can almost taste the chocolate covered cranberries through my nose. It's straightforward but very delicious.

Taste - just like the nose, chocolate and cranberries blended together in a smooth mixture. Maybe hints of caramel too.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly light on the tongue, medium high carbonation, and moderately light body. Smooth but not oily or slick.

Overall - a very well executed imperial stout with a taste for chocolate and cranberries. It's exactly what it says it is nothing more nothing less. If it weren't for the prohibitive cost, I would pick this up a little more regularly.

Photo of LampertLand
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Muskoka Brewery 'Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout' aka Winter Beard 2013 Vintage @ 8.0% , served from a corked/caged 750 ml bottle purchased for $12.50

A-pour is a dark cola brown from the bottle to a near black in the glass with some ruby red peeking thru a small creamy tan head which is leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-roasted dark chocolate malt , hint of sweet cranberries

T-intial taste is sweet cranberry , followed by dark chocolate/cocoa in a somewhat dry finish

MF-mild carbonation , bit thin & viscous , feeling a bit of a full body warmth

Ov-ok beer , needs some more body , not just the ABV

prost LampertLand

Photo of souvenirs
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Who could resist a beer with a beard on the label? Not this guy.

A: As black as black can be, impenetrable to light, with two fingers of cocoa-coloured head that dissipate fairly quickly without leaving a whole lot behind in the way of lacing.
S: Dark roasted malts, cocoa, coffee. I can't pick up the cranberry.
T: Cocoa! It's a little bit like putting straight cocoa powder in your mouth, with a little bit of sweetness to balance out the bitterness.
F: Lighter body than I expected.

Photo of djoprahwinfrey
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - jet black pour, very thin tan lace ring which didn't last long

S - dark chocolate/cocoa, some coffee and more subtle sweet cranberry aroma

T - rich chocolate/cocoa, toasted malts from start to finish, the cranberry comes through but i found it sweeter and cherry like, lingering finish which is just slightly chalky

M - really creamy with a good weight, coats the entire mouth, medium carbonation

O - a bold chocolate flavor (as expected) with a nice amount of cranberry/cherry along side. a solid stout, nothing overpowering and overall very enjoyable to drink

Photo of AussieAbroad
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 mL 2012 Vintage corked bottle

A - Pours a pitch black with a half inch cream head. The head receded to a fine ring, with no lacing.

S - Dark, roasted chocolate malts upfront with an undertone of muted sweetness courtesy of the cranberries

T - Dark chocolate coats the palate with the cranberry notes lightly lingering on the finish. There is no sign of the 8% ABV.

M - Medium, creamy body with little carbonation and smooth, semi dry finish.

O - Reviewing this as I drank it, I found the 8% ABV stealthily crept up on me! The subtle, chocolately smoothness became warming, and satiating to the point of fullness. Everything about this brew is subtle, but very drinkable, and, as the name suggests, perfect for a chilly winter evening. While the early fall might not have been the best time to drink up, I'll definitely be searching out their 2013 offering.

Photo of mick303
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - a viscous oily dark brown with some slight whispy film and lacing. Thick and dark, an initial nice dark tan head on it, quite pretty.

S - a rich chocolate liqueur, jammy cranberry, and dark chocolate, roasty and dark malts come through nicely, a rich and intriguing nose, nicely balanced.

T - a rich mouthfeel, smooth liqueur with slight carbonation, sticky molasses and dark malts that linger heavily on the finish, some tannic cranberry and dark cocoa. Some rich flighty chocolate notes, again with some alcohol spiciness. Rich cranberry notes, some mild earthy and a lot of roasty spice.

M - a thick viscous feel, some interesting vegetal notes on the finish, quite a slick feel to it, some light carbonation on the palate.

This bottle had about 1.5 years on it, and the chocolate and dark roast malt notes mellowed nicely. Drinks nicely, with a nice smooth but not overly heavy body. Characterful and well-constructed, full feel with some residual alcohol heat.

Photo of ComradeCanadia
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hadn't had a dessert stout in a while, and this totally scratched that itch.

Appearance is black as tar with a thin mocha head that didn't stay around too long.

Smell isn't particularly strong, but I can certainly pick up the chocolate, deep malts, a bit of hops, and the edge of the cranberries.

Taste is very pleasant and smooth. Not too strong. Earth malt flavours dominate the palate with chocolate, coffee, and a kind of burned edge in there, but just a bit. The chocolate isn't particularly strong, but lingers on the palate for a good while. At the front of the palate lie the cranberries with some lemon and orange flavours.

Mouthfeel - This is smooth and nice to drink with a feisty carbonation I quite like. However there is a bit of a chalky texture which lingers that I'm not fond of.

Overall - This is a nice dessert stout I'd be happy to drink again and its mild, muted flavours would make it a good recommendation to craft beer novices.

Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle with a big thanks to liamt07.

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black in the glass and topped with almost two fingers of light tan head.

Smell. Sweet dark chocolate, red and dark berries, and some dark roasty malts.

Taste. Sweet dark chocolate and dark malts and a little bit of red berries. Fairly mild flavours, no alcohol, and a nice medium level of sweetness.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, medium-low smooth and creamy carbonation.

Overall. Very nice but I would like to taste the berries a little more.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL caged-and-corked bottle from the LCBO (2012 edition). This is the only one of Muskoka's rotating seasonal offerings that I have not yet tried - but given past experience, I expect I'm in for a pretty good couple glasses of beer. Served only slight chilled; poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque brownish-black colour, topped with one finger of creamy, foamy, beige-coloured head. Retention is decent; it gradually wilts away over the next five minutes or so, leaving behind plenty of sticky lacing, a narrow collar around the edge, and a spotty film on the surface. The aroma is enticing, with lots of cocoa powder and rich chocolate fudge, some mocha, roasted nuts, and a pleasant cranberry tartness to round it all out.

Somehow I doubt they're kidding about the 'double chocolate' part, because this brew's flavour is rife at first with rich dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and the chocolate notes don't really let up from there. Roasted coffee grinds come through as well, followed by dark cherry, anise, baker's chocolate and some light cranberry tartness toward the finish. Roasted, earthy aftertaste with a slight hint of booze and dark chocolate that lingers nicely. Full-bodied and fairly thick, with a slick, almost oily feel left behind on the palate. I must admit, I wasn't expecting an 8% stout to be this full, and it threw me off a little at first, but there's something to be said for its smooth, creamy nature.

Final Grade: 4.03, a solid A-. Muskoka's Winter Beard probably isn't my favourite of their seasonals, but it's still an excellent imperial stout. Surprisingly well-balanced for the style, with the rich sweetness of the chocolate being delicately countered by the roasted character and slightly sour cranberry. It's a brew that's almost too much - but never going overboard or becoming cloying, with just the right amount of warmth from the alcohol to make this into a perfect winter sipper. I really enjoyed this stuff, but at $10.95 a bottle I doubt I'd ever get this more than once a year (although I might get another bottle and crack it next January to see how it develops). Worth a try, but not a worldbeater.

Photo of MaxwellSchaefer
2.9/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Light head, little rention.

Smell: chocolate and coffee notes shine here with undertones of caramel. I was surprised not to detect any cranberry whatsoever.

Taste: Silky mouth feel, almost like crushed chalk without the taste. The carbonation was tough and very strong--maybe thats where the particulate mouthfeel came from. The taste was chocolatey with some burnt coffee notes--I still couldnt really taste the cranberry.

Overall: the beer kind of sparkles in the mouth but feels muddled. For a beer that calls itself a winter warmer it did make me feel kind of warm. Next time I'll grab something else.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a near pitch black colour, with a tanned, foamy finger of head that leaves some spongy lace. The aroma has plenty of chocolate on the nose, with a big roasted character and a light fruity cranberry sweetness/twang. Very interesting taste. Definitely chocolaty, and there's plenty of tangy sweet cranberry.

It didn't look too viscous, but it had a nice rich creamy texture, low carbonation, and a full body. Quite the unique take on an imperial stout, but a nice deviation, nonetheless.

Thanks Chris!

Photo of ZorPrime
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was sent to me in a recent trade with Liam. Thanks and cheers.

The beer is dark black with a nice brown head on top of it. Nice looking. The aroma is dominated by dark chocolate with some cacao. Pretty simple in the aroma. Chocolate. The taste is similar. It's chocolate domination. Not bad, but it would gain if I was able to distinguish the cranberries. It is very big in the mouth. Voluptuous. I like it. This is a dessert in a bottle. A nice beer but I was expecting more complexities from an imperial stout. Try it out for yourself.

Photo of korguy123
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011/2012 release into Muskoka tulip.

A- Dark brown/black pour with a light tan two finger head. Lacing is excellent.

S- Bakers chocolate, slight coffee and cranberry sauce (thanksgiving style) Sweet chocolate syrup. Almost reminiscent of a chocolate strawberry sundae.

T- Chocolate syrup galore! The cranberry reminds me more of strawberry jam in the taste. I can remember last years batch having a malt taste and feel (similar to hot chocolate powder. This one is much more refined in my opinion.

M- Full bodied, slightly creamy with a low but satisfying carbonation.

O- Excellent bottle/batch this year. I bought this bottle for a trade that fell through and really had no interest to drink it. I'm glad I did. The malt taste/feel last year was a real put off but that has been remedied!

Photo of TerryW
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark walnut pour under a fairly substantial brown head. Looks good out of the bottle. The head is quickly disappeared, no lace.

Aroma is primarily chocolate, coffee, some fruit. Flavour is lots of chocolate. Coffee and malt as well. There is also the characteristic tart-sweetness of cranberries that really noticeably comes across as fruitiness. Makes it a little bit different from a typical stout. Gentle carbonation.

Tasty, but almost a novelty stout.

Photo of BGDrock
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: deep chocolate; nice head; slight ruby tinge; look is similar reminding me of creme de cacao

Aroma: coffee, a nice roast; not very aromatic; lightly of chocolate

Taste & Mouthfeel: dark, bitter chocolate lingers strongly on the palate (very intense!); clean, medium body, although there's a tinge of powder in the texture; medium carbonation; cranberry is non-existent, possibly over-powered by the chocolate; some creaminess

Overall: fantastic as a chocolate stout, and texture and body make it greatly drinkable, but fails on delivering the promised cranberry flavour

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - classic tar black stout, thumb of head dissipated quickly and nosily, down to a thin covering
S - dominated by big chocolatey and roasty malt aromas, a mild sour aroma reminiscent of a porter
T - starts with dark roastiness and quickly moves to a sour bitter fruit flavour, strong cocoa, with a mild hint of graininess, this one is a bit of a riddle
M - a medium body more like a porter than a stout, sweet and sour with a light smoky and chaulky finish
O - this is a different brew, is has big chocolate and light fruitiness with the character of cranberries, not a great chocolate stout but big props for adding a unique twist

Photo of SebD
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice pitch black color to it. It has a nice thick mocha head that formed from a cascade effect and dies down slowly and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of dark chocolate, dark fruit (possibly the cranberries), roasted malts and a hint of caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice dark chocolate character, nice roasty malts, slight black licorice notes and a sweet cranberry note at the end. Slight bitterness coming from the chocolate witch is nice. The 8% ABV is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Photo of jrenihan
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer is black with a moderately sized tan head. Head dissipates pretty quickly, a little bit of lacing.

Smell is faint, but nice. Cocoa and roasted malt. I don't get any cherry.

Taste is similar to the nose. Chocolate, a bit of bitterness, and some cherry flavour. Like the nose, it is a little thin but pretty good.

Full bodied, but feels a bit malted? Not sure how to describe, but an unusual feel. Good.

Overall, pretty good but not as good as I had hoped it might be. Not the flavour powerhouse that the name implies.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours near-black with reddish highlights. Big mocha head off the pour, settles quite slowly. Spotty lacings.

Nice chocolate nose, leans more towards earthy/roasty than sweet.

Big chocolate notes up front, bittersweet. Cranberry contributes in a really nice way. Not fruity at all, but a welcome tartness to counter the dense chocolate.

Nice idea, nicely executed.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with a finger of creamy mocha coloured foam head. Good retention and lacing. Impressive.

S: Dark chocolate, caramel, dark dried fruits (raisins & dates), raw coffee bean, and a fruity hop aroma. Very complimentary with a little bit of everything.

T: Healthy amounts of dark chocolate, noticeable cranberry tartness, and dates. A solid caramel-like malt base with enough probing hop bitterness in the finish to provide some slight relief from the sweet. Nevertheless, this is definitely chocolate infused.

M: Medium body with a moderate (above-avg) carbonation. Rich, syrupy, and sticky, with an appropriately high viscosity.

D: A rich and chocolaty Imperial Stout that I think is pretty well done and certainly reaffirms my positive impression of Lake of Muskoka.

Photo of BasementBer
2.12/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Something went wrong muskoka. Maybe it froze in your beards but the bottle I got was syrup, literally.

A: Poured like cough syrup and formed plumes in the glass of water in oil. I figured 'ok, this is a really thick stout, so they must have it loaded with oils' I was right and it was barely drinkable.

S: Great smell, this was the best part of a corrupted bottle, but sadly one has to drink to capture the full aroma. Chocolate cocoa sweetness with hints of fruit.

T: It had the right ingredients to be a fine stout, the cocoa and bittersweet chocolate mixed well and the hints of fruit had a good middle and finish on the palate.

M: This was the worst part of it, image breaking an egg in your mouth and having the yolk roll all over your tongue and slither down your throat. This shouldn't happen.

O: If I wast intimidated by my local liquor store employees, I would get my money back. But instead im keeping the swing top bottle and putting better beer in it.

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on-tap at Cole's (Buffalo, NY).

A: Pours a nice rich and silky black. There is about one finger of dark mocha colored head. The foam settles nicely. There is only minimal head as it drinks.

S: This beer smells of roasted chocolate malt, caramel, and chocolate. It seems like a pretty typical imperial stout.

T: It starts out sweet with some really wonderful roasted notes. The chocolate in this beer is big and totally noticeable. There is a slight fruity tartness to this beer, which I assume is the cranberry, but I can't pick out that flavor specifically.

M: Full bodied beer. It's super smooth, silky, creamy, and it coats the palate. It's a really great mouthfeel.

O: This beer is interesting, but I think is falls short on smell and taste. I was intrigued, and now I know what's it like. It's a good beer, but it's not anything special.

Photo of wordemupg
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml swinging pop top bottle poured into tulip 10/1/12

A loud fizzy two finger head is gone before I really checked out if it has color, thought a dirty glass was the culprit but a second pour fizzed away too, looks like a still glass of motor oil but has some deep cola edges once held to the light

S chocolate covered cherries, (well it could be cranberries) but almost smells like a chocolate cherry liqueur, big coco notes some smokey charred wood and booze

T somehow there's more coco then I could smell, I also pick up on a little licorice I couldn't smell, lots of bakers chocolate and all things dark chocolate for that matter, the fruit is mellow and so is the booze

M silky entry and creams up almost to the point of foam without quite going there, fruity char on the faint lingering finish

O fairly well concealed booze and pretty nice flavors if you like dark chocolate, good beer for sure but nothing to put into the "great" category

I'm curious to how this one would age, being well priced for a strong 750ml pop top I might find out. Even if I don't like an aged bottle I could still sell the empty bottle for two bits to a local Yeast Wrangler, how do I lose?

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml swing-top bottle. The label projects the image of one weird hybrid of a beaver/old guy in the midst of a winter beard overflow..

This beer pours a solid black, with very slight mahogany edges, and one finger of creamy beige head, which wisps away quite quickly, leaving a low ring of lace around the glass, not much more than a meniscus.

It smells fairly strongly of dense chocolate milk powder, chocolate malt, and well, not chocolate earthy hops. The taste is big chocolate malt, cocoa powder, a bit of cold coffee, a slight indistinct tart fruitiness, some porter-esque sourness, and mild earthy hops. Decent, for sure.

Bubbles form a nice cordon of effervescence, none too strict, with a somewhat hefty medium body, that engenders a quite agreeable smoothness. It finishes with a nice blend of chocolate sweetness, tempered by an inherent dry sourness, and soft berry fruitiness.

Well, the name does say "Double" for the chocolate component, so, um, well, there! The cranberry kind of falls under the wheels of the big cocoa onslaught, and waning sourness, but I'm not judging it too heavily for that. An enjoyable big (oh yeah, the elevated ABV does a hell of a job keeping its head down) stout. The porter sourness is a bit strange, but entirely forgivable.

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Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) from Muskoka Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.