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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

122 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 122
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 20
Gots: 10 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: mrnobody on 12-05-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 122 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%

On tap at Bar Volo. Black body with whisp of brown head. Chocolate aromas, with the cranberry in the secondary. The taste is chocolate and roast, with cranberry in the secondary lending some tartness to the dry and sweetish chocolate.Drinkable but not tremendously drinkable.Slightly below average mouthfeel.

Sammy, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

nmann08, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with an average size off-white foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of rich black chocolate with light cranberry and minimal sweetness level. Taste is quite enjoyable with notes of rich chocolates and cranberry with very subtle dry coffee notes. Chocolate notes are really smooth with great quality malt being used. Body is about average for style with good carbonation and no signs of alcohol. This brewery seems to amazed me more and more with another quality offering.

Phyl21ca, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -22.5%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

biboergosum, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of biegaman
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%

As one might expect, Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is doubly dark and opaque, but underlined with a thin sliver of cranberry red. It's rare to see such healthy, full of life head form from a flip-top (especially one that doesn't make even a whimper on the pop). No complaints here though. The airy, bubbly receptacle that formed has now diminished to a thin but silky cream that has already begun marking its territory on the sides of the glass.

The nose has plenty of delicious (and strong) chocolate but not really much cranberry. (Then again, not even actual cranberries have much, if any, of a cranberry smell so what was I expecting?) Each sniff feels like a chocolatier is jamming a giant black, bitter block of cocoa up my nostrils which, contrary to how it might feel if actually done, is a wonderful sensation. *This* is a bittersweet symphony! And it's like music to my, err, nose.

The flavour is essentially as advertised. A bittersweet chocolate dashes across the palate alright, while the cranberry is awfully subtle - such that you likely wouldn't know of its presence if not informed - although a slightly bitter, dried fruit flavour does appear here and there on the palate. When I see 'chocolate' in the name I tend to judge the beer on one measure: its decadence. Though not exceedingly, I'd consider this pretty indulgent.

Right up to and including the flavour, this offering reminds me of one of my all-time favourite chocolate beers, Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Where it ultimately differs, in an unfavorably way, is the mouthfeel which begins not with a silky chocolate or even bitter cranberry note, but a bizarre twang that is one part metallic (iron-y), one part lactose-y. It doesn't go down as rich and decadent as it first comes across.

Muskoka deserves all the credit they get for this seasonal, and plenty of credit they didn't get. The Ontario market sorely lacks in dark beer, especially stouts and doubly especially rich and indulgent ones like this. Even at the hefty, but understandably warranted, price tag of $10 a pop, I enjoyed a number of bottles of this over Christmas break and it made a perfect accomplice to my holiday cheer and late night snacking. Easily recommended.

biegaman, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +3.4%

750mL swing top. Bottle courtesy of northyorksammy. Thanks!
This beer is pretty black -- even holding it up to the light, there was nothing but the thinnest of brown edges. It sported a brown cap of very fine bubbles that stuck around for quite a while and left transient sheets of lace on the glass that receded between sips. Lots of dark and milk chocolate in the aroma, malt and cocoa, a hint of cranberries as it warmed but this was a background trait. There was a lot more cranberry in the flavour, almost equaling the chocolate. Bitterness was moderate and noticeable throughout. It reminded me a lot of a fruit and nut chocolate bar, but with some bitterness and roasty notes. Full bodied with nearly creamy carbonation, slight astringency. Decent texture overall. I quite enjoyed this. This would work nicely with dessert.

DrJay, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

On tap at Volo, poured into a snifter.

Dense black body appears in the glass, with little head formed. What was formed quickly fell to a tiny collar, with no lace. Aroma is dominated by cocoa, giving a real sense of hot chocolate. Hints to the cranberry tartness, but I really had to dig for that one. Red berries are tasted from the get go, but not clear that it was cranberry. Some tartness/sweetness helps confirm the cranberries, leading right into the rich cocoa/milk chocolate base of this beer. On the sweeter side on the whole, a brief flash of alcohol in the finish, but drinks smooth and velvety. Easy going down overall, and in terms of Ontario brewers, this is one of the better stouts to have come out of here.

liamt07, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%

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?

wordemupg, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%

Tasting notes from 12-30-10
Poured in to Duvel Tulip

A - Dark brown/black colour with one finger of light brown head. Neat swing-top bottle.

S - Dark roaste malts, bitter sweet chocolate and light coffee notes.

T - Very chocolaty, somewhat sweet with a nice overall roasted malt bill. No cranberries come through specifically but a nice bitterness/tartness is evident, which nicely rounds out the palate.

M - Medium body, slight chew, light

TheSevenDuffs, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
3.6/5  rDev -7%

750ml Bottle

Appearance - Black/brown colour (with a hint of burgundy) with a small size fizzy light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some fair lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for only a minute or two.

Smell - Chocolate, malts, coffee, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste chocolate mixed with malts and a roasted/toasted taste. There is also a coffee flavour mixed with some tart cranberry. It ends with a cranberry chocolate aftertaste.

Overall – Part of me wanted this beer to be a little more sweet, but I think it would make it less drinkable.. especially considering the size of the bottle. It's an interesting tasting beer, but not one I'd buy again.

spinrsx, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of tbeckett
3.83/5  rDev -1%

A - Pours black. Two finger tan, really creamy head. Typical Imperial Stout appearance but not over the top good looking.

S - Tons of chocolate with that nice mild cranberry. Smells like chocolate covered cranberries. No booze. Some really faint coffee perhaps.

T - Coffee there more, chocolate has been tamed, and I get no cranberry. Bitter roastiness in the finish.

M - Mild carbonation and medium body. Seems like it needs more body, especially for something with so much chocolate emphasis.

D - Tasty stout but lacking in some respects. Body and Flavour are what hold this back, otherwhise a nice treat. Not overly sweet for something of this nature either. A good effort.

tbeckett, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%

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!

EgadBananas, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of canucklehead
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

canucklehead, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Exiled
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Exiled, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of andrenaline
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%

Was pretty excited to find this on the shelves at my local LCBO.

A - Pours dark, almost opaque, black with a ruby red and brown tint on the edges. Finger of nice mocha head which quickly settls leaving no real lacing.

S - Dark cocoa with tobacco and a smokey wooden finish. Some sweet fruit is also detectable, but is rather mild.

T - Chocolate comes through nicely and is complemented by some roasted coffee notes, sweet cranberries (though I found it more reminiscent of cherries) lingers on the finish with a touch of bitterness on the tongue.

M - A tad thin with only light bubbles filling the palette, finishes a tad dry, but is non-offensive.

D - Overall quite tasty and I found it a bit sweeter than Wild Rose's Cherry Porter offering. The higher ABV is well hidden and it offers a nice bouquet of chocolate and coffee malts with the sweet fruit on the finish. Well worth the price, IMO, or at least a try!

andrenaline, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of bobsy
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%

Attractive 750ml bottle.

Dark brown pour borders on black, but betrays itself at the edges of the glass. A light tan head briefly liners before dropping to a film and leaving a few spots of lace. Strong cocoa powder aroma mixes with chocolate malt to provide a tempting bouqet, that's only brought down by the occasional bad breath note. While the flavour lacks depth it is well done, with layers of cocoa and light coffee roast. Cranberries and alcohol are notable only by their absence. Medium body and mouthfeel is fine.

A decent effort. I'd probably beef up the body and add some more complexity to take things to the next level, but this is a darn solid beer and a nice step forward for Muskoka.

bobsy, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of oldp0rt
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

oldp0rt, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of IronDjinn
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

From a tall 750 ml brown flip-top bottle, has the name and new logo of Winter Beard on it, 2011 offering. Pours out an oily dark opaque black hue, very thin cola nimbus when held to direct light. Tall fizzy mocha head on the pour that settles quickly, however very active carbonation can be seen dancing across the surface.

Notes of coffee and dark cocoa on the nose, tartness from cranberries is subdued by the dark grains and come across a bit sweet. Hints of burnt malt and smoke.

The first few sips remind me of homebrew, especially on the finish--worty grains, and that tell-tale papery yeast character with a touch of detergent. That aside, it starts out with coffee and dry cocoa notes,punctuated with a hint of dark berries. Roasted malt on the aftertaste, aside from the homebrew tinge.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, texture is full yet slick, with a carbonation that starts out with a medium briskness yet dissipates over time.

Tough call on this one. Could be an off bottle, could be an off batch, or perhaps I'm just not as enthused by this particular Muskoka offering as some of the other reviewers. Considering the price tag on another bottle to sample I'm not in any huge rush to cross-reference this experience. Has potential, yet from my take either this double chocolate fruit stout could benefit from some tweaking, or some QC. Or it could have been an oxidized bottle....

IronDjinn, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of kwjd
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%

Was going to wait to try this on tap given the price at the LCBO, but figured I'd buy a bottle anyway. Pours an opaque brown colour with tan head that dissipates fairly quickly with hints of lacing. Smells of dark chocolate and roasted malt. Cranberry seems to come through more in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel. This doesn't taste like an imperial stout, so quite drinkable. Very nice, though won't be buying much at $10/bottle.

kwjd, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

Rutager, Jul 24, 2013
Photo of Molson2000
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Molson2000, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of Jeffo
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%

Got this one from mrnobody and JohnnyBarman over the summer. Having two big bottles was great for sharing at the pool with the kiddies. Thanks guys!

From a 750 into a snifter.
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: A dark pour yields a two finger, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Black body, rather transparent, with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good, full foam cap, then eventually fades to a wisp on top. Carbonation decorating the wisp all over the place. A wisp and ring remain until the end and leave some decent lacing down the glass. Nice body and lacing, but rampant carbonation for the style.

SMELL: Roasted and smoky malts, cocoa powder and some definite cranberry notes. Dark chocolate and a touch of caramel, but cranberries outdo the chocolate a bit. Nice and medium in strength.

TASTE: Roasted malts and some cocoa powder up front. Medium strength flavors of cranberries and roasted goodness through the middle, leading into a cocoa and smoky dark chocolate finish. Aftertaste is bold and lingers very nicely, with smoky dark chocolate and a touch of faint, slightly tart cranberries. Much more balanced and the cranberries more restraint than the nose had indicated. Tasty and interesting stuff, though it could be a little bolder.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Only semi-creamy on the palate, goes down slightly prickly and finishes somewhat sticky. Average at best here.

OVERALL: Pretty good beer here. While the cranberries outplayed the chocolate and roasted base in the nose, the flavor profile balanced everything out very nicely. The flavors could be a little bigger perhaps, but nevertheless, this is an interesting and enjoyable brew for sure. Glad to have tried this one guys, and my mates enjoyed it as well. Thanks again for the bottles mrnobody and JohnnyBarman.

Jeffo, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of schopenhauerale
4/5  rDev +3.4%

schopenhauerale, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of jrenihan
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%

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.

jrenihan, Jan 28, 2012
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Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) from Muskoka Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.