Stone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - Xocoveza | Stone Brewing

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Stone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - XocovezaStone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - Xocoveza
4,138 Ratings
Stone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - XocovezaStone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - Xocoveza

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: English Sweet / Milk Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Stone Xocoveza For The Holidays & The New Year

Our chocolaty, winter-spiced mocha stout is back. This insanely delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate is crafted with cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. First brewed in 2014 with San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker after his recipe was named the winner of our annual homebrew competition, it quickly became a cross-country sensation as craft beer media and fans cheered for Stone Xocoveza…and clamored for more. We too loved this beer, so of course we caroled ¡Claro que sí!

Now gifted with a new name, Stone Xocoveza for the Holidays & the New Year has joined our eminent lineup of special releases. We’re releasing it just in time for that time of the year when the joyous spirit of giving is in the air and good behavior is generously rewarded.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,138 |  Reviews: 762
Reviews by kustard:
Photo of kustard
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of Resuin
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%

Poured from a bomber into an enlarged snifter. 2014 version. Served at just under room temp.

Appearance: Pours black and leaves a relatively thin finger or two of tan head that lingers for a while before leaving a tan later atop the black beer. (4.5)

Smell: Coffee, a bit of pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate, toasted malts, vanilla. All the aromas are big and present, yet meld together to form a nice unified smell of the combination of them all. Quite spiced, like pumpkin pie mix. Very pleasant. (4.7)

Taste: Again big with pumpkin-pie spices (minus the pumpkin of course) - nutmeg, cinnamon, a dash of vegetal peppers all play nicely together and are followed by toasted malts, some coffee, vanilla and just a hint of dark chocolate. The taste is a lot milder than the smell - so easy drinking. (4.5)

Mouth-feel: Low carbonation (but plenty) with a big, real creamy body. Finishes amazingly smooth, maybe just a tad bitter. (4.75)

Overall: This is a really well done spiced milk stout. The aroma is just fantastic, and that played with the high drinkability and smooth flavors in the taste make this a real winner. The creamy body works wonderfully as well. Some nice cinnamon is the last taste I get in the semi-long finish. I can't think of many better winter/holiday beers than this. (4.6)

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%

On tap at the Stone Company Store in Pasadena, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, and slight pepper flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and a very mild pepper heat on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with fantastic aromas and flavors that make this one a treat to drink.

Serving type: on tap.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%

The spectacular array of flavors that are common to the Southern California landscape ribbon through a massive milk stout base for a collaborative taste that's born of homebrew experimentation, Mexican pro influences and of course the Stone brewers who have the courage to pull this beer off.

Its ominously dark appearance aptly looks the part- pure mocha, equipped with a dainty sand-stained froth. Bold roast coffee, cocoa and roasted walnut frame the aromas and early taste. Earthy, deep and complex- the beer takes several twists and turns across the palate.

Trending less espresso-like and more chocolaty through the middle, its lavish mocha balance evens out to a smooth burnt toffee and heavy whipping cream. Pulling from the chocolate are spice and fruit- its culmination is of chocolate covered raisin, cranberry, cherry and licorice. Nutmeg and cinnamon introduce a fine prickle just ahead of finish.

As the full-bodied malt sweetness is slow to recede, a simmering spiciness bellows up from underneath with the freshy, fruitiness of chipotle and its light accompanying capsaicin. Chocolaty and fruit to close, the ale seems curiously connected to traditional mole Mexican sauce.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: black stout body off a dark brown-black pour; billowy mocha head a few fingers high left some brief lace behind...

S: rich dark roasty malts, underscored with chocolate and cocoa, and hints of brighter spice like cinnamon and nutmeg

T: up-front dark roasted cocoa malts, vanilla and heat hit the palate simultaneously; holiday notes like that of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice at play in the background; mellow espresso with just a touch of sweetness...

M: smoothly bittersweet chocolate wraps itself around the tongue, drying finish with slight chalk; mild with a trace of char... slight tingle on the tongue...

O: an exceptional effort again by Stone and collaborators - in the same vein as Mexican Cake, Indra Kunindra, and others, brings together classic Imperial stout characteristics, with a great coffee undertone and the infusion of interesting and potentially prickly spices. Do not take a pass.

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Photo of tarkovsky7
2.25/5  rDev -48.2%

Geez...I wonder if i am drinking a different beer than everyone else who submitted a review. The dominate flavor here is some off-putting flavor that does not even taste like food stuff. There are hints of milk, peppers and chocolate, but mostly this tastes like Johnson and Johnson Baby Lotion with peppers. Cannot recommend this and will think twice before buying another "adventurous Stone beer".
I am pretty sure this beer is rated so highly because it is near the top of most peoples budget for a single beer and for a $8-$10 beer it is unique.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Holy f*cking sh*t this beer is black. Dude this beer is completely black. What's going on? This beer is black. I'm putting it directly under a light and its still black. I can't see anything but black. Wow that's black, that's a black beer. That's just a hundred percent black.

Oh wow that's a good smell. Freshly baked oatmeal cookies hit you first and then toffee, caramel, nutmeg and rich natural vanilla, all sweets which uplift the oatmeal flavor, they compliment each other so well. Very unique. I have to give the smell a perfect score too.

Very good. The smells transition virtually identical to the taste. A bit more chocolate and a softly bitter mocha now, the oatmeal and then a sprinkling of dark fruit. Maybe a little too much dry nutmeg/cinnamon?

Mouthfeel would elevate greatly if it was a thicker consistency. Carbonation is normal. The nutmeg/cinnamon causes a drying feel.

Intriguing beer. Many nuances.

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Photo of oberon
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%

Pours more of a deep cola color than jet black with thinner beige head atop.Whoo it smells like a straight on coffee house with deep roasty smoky espresso,wow that's some espresso for ya.Flavors of roast and char really smack the taste buds some berry like fruitiness lends sweetness in the finish,mild vanilla and brown sugar gives just a little more sweetness to the roast and char.Hell yeah this the most "coffee" of coffee/espresso beers I have ever had and I have had a few,ballsy and awesome here.

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Photo of Todd
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vanilla, Cocoa, Peppers, Spice

Back by popular demand, Xocoveza is Stone's take on a Mexican hot chocolate. It pours black with ruby hues and a tan head. Spicy and peppery on the nose with notes of freshly baked pastries, cinnamon, nutmeg and a deep vanilla. Lighter bodied than I expected, but its silkiness on the palate adds depth. A big vanilla profile is joined by cocoa powder, roasty coffee, a zing of chile pepper, more cinnamon and nutmeg, faint suggestions of sweetened coconut and holiday candy in the background. Ends with a charred, pepper linger. One of the best beers of its kind.

As reviewed in BeerAdvocate magazine #108 (January 2016).

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Photo of bigmo66
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I drove to my Daughter's house to work on her car and noticed a 6 pack of this in her garage minus 1 beer. I asked her about it and she said it was one of the most disgusting beers she and her boyfriend ever tasted. I asked for the remaining 5 and they said GO AHEAD! Looking at the description I thought it might be "weird" tasting but man was I pleasantly surprised! What a wonderful cold weather brew.
Dark, warm, chocolate, spicy and it all works very well. Can't wait to get some more this winter.

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Photo of BrentLepping
3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

Meh. Definitely well crafted and unique, but I don't see all the hype.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3.25

I'm really looking forward to this; the vast majority of the good beers Stone puts out are brewed with non-Stone recipes. (What that says about the quality of Stone as a brewery is a topic for another venue).

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle. 2014 vintage. Great label design (as always with Stone - that marketing company that happens to make beer sometimes). Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Reviewed live as a milk stout per the label. Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Dark khaki colour. Half a finger wide. Thinner and less creamy than would be ideal. Retention is poor - maybe 1 minute at best. Should be fuller and richer, with a better consistency and complexion. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque ruby-black. Not an ink or jet black; it lacks the mirror sheen of better looking stouts. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a good but not great appearance for a milk stout. It's far from unique or special - even Left Hand's offering looks better - but it's appealing.

AROMA: The rich coffee aromatics are fantastic, as are the well-selected spices. Cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, cocoa, subtle chili pepper with a lovely buried heat, dark malts, chocolate malts, and a hint of lactose sugar. As it comes to temperature, the chili heat increasingly comes to dominate. The spices/spiciness helps tame the malty and lactose-y sweetness.

No alcohol, yeast character, hop character, or off-notes are detectable.

Overall, it's an intriguing inviting aroma of average strength, and suggests a subtle balanced Mexican chocolate stout. I'm excited to try it.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Cocoa greets the drinker on the open, giving way to the dark malt and chocolate malt base, atop which sits a nice blend of spices: nutmeg and cinnamon are most prominent. The chili heat kicks in in the late second act and stays through the finish, but doesn't bleed too much into the aftertaste. The first flaw is immediately noticeable - it just isn't creamy enough. In fact, it's not sweet enough either - where's the lactose sugar (the core a milk stout)? More of a creamy milk chocolate flavour would suit this flavour profile better than the cocoa dust currently featured.

The texture is just flat-out wrong. It should be creamy, soft, comforting, smooth, and wet. Instead it's unnaturally rough and scratchy on the palate, distracting the drinker from the nice flavours. Overly dry and coarse. This just plain isn't how you execute a milk stout; the mouthfeel should be supple and easy on the palate. That said, it's aptly medum-bodied and has enough thickness and heft to support the complex flavours.

Speaking of complexity, it's intricate enough but there's ample room to go bigger and to do more. There's some nice subtlety - especially with the chili peppers and spices. But some notes should surface far more than they do - particularly the coffee. The promise of rich roasty coffee from the aroma goes unfulfilled in the taste.

Average depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity.

As it warms, a fantastic kiss of cranberry emerges. Some burnt characteristics manifest.

No yeast, hop notes, off-notes, or alcohol come(s) through.

I do like the beer, but boy does the texture ruin its potential.

OVERALL: The troublesome mouthfeel severely restricts drinkability; it just dries out the palate. It's a problematic milk stout, but it has huge potential. With tweaks, this could be a fantastic beer. And I'd love to see a reconceptualized version hit shelves in 6 packs. As-is, it's an interesting but wanting brew. Aside from fixing the texture, they could add more flavour. Marshmallow and fudge notes would be particularly beneficial. In terms of Mexican stouts, this just isn't on the level of something like Copper Kettle's Mexican Chocolate. In terms of milk stouts, it can't compete with go-to offerings like Left Hand's Milk Stout or Lakewood's The Temptress. I'll enjoy finishing the bottle, but it's far from world-class.

Low B-

11.11.2016: I picked up a sixer of the 2016 vintage in Brooklyn, NY for $18.99. Bottled 09/20/16.

Cinnamon and nutmeg play poorly together in this build for some reason, giving it a sticky yet powdery mouthfeel vaguely redolent of natural peanut butter adhering to the roof of one's mouth. Subtle chili heat is present but lacks depth of flavour. Vanilla? No. Coffee? No. Cocoa? Sure - cocoa powder I guess. For a beer billed as a "mocha stout," it's pretty lacking in terms of mocha and basic stout elements (note the absence of any overt roasted barley whatsoever, as well as the lack of a robust dark malt backbone).

Fuck me for buying this a 2nd time I guess - and at $19 per six pack no less (a higher price even than Sculpin's). More overpriced mediocrity from Stone Brewing (Genius marketing, though).


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Photo of Jturpin
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best beer I have ever had. From the beginning to the end it was a joy to drink. I could believe how much the cinnamon showed up. The taste was amazing like nothing else I have ever had. If you haven't been able to try this get it ASAP.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.71/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle of the 2014 collaboration. Poured into a snifter 10/14/2014.

A- Dark brown body, two finger mocha head with short retention time, no lacing. Really, standard run of the mill stout in appearance. [3.75]

S- Dark acidic coffee, a slight bit of cinnamon and vanilla bean, lots of cocoa and roast, some lactose. Slight vegetal flavour. Disappointing in how it is minimal on the cinnamon, as that's one of the things I enjoy most about Hunahpu and Abraxas. This is definitely heavy on the coffee, which isn't exactly what I expected. It seems to be taking over at the expense of the other adjuncts. [4]

F- Less enjoyable than it smells- a bit of acidic, slightly funky coffee dominates; the roast malt is minimal. The lactose and the cocoa stand out, but there is much less vanilla and cinnamon than expected. There is a slight vegetal flavour without any sort of spicy heat that I expect from the peppers. Disappointingly bland. [3.5]

M- Slightly thinner medium body, lower in carbonation, a bit slick and not a lot of bubbles behind it. Zero heat on the finish, it is more of a slightly bitter coffee finish here. Again, not what I expected. [3.75]

O- Not as good as everyone is saying it is. Maybe I got a bad bottle. But there isn't a lot of complexity on the nose and palate, and its a bit too thin to boot. [3.75]

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Photo of Tucquan
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2016-12-28 in Columbia, PA from a 2015 12oz bottle

A - Opaque dark brown with a 1.5-finger light brown head and good lace.

S - Milk and dark chocolate, chile pepper, roasted grain, nuts, cinnamon, earthy spice, vanilla. Lots going on here.

T - Espresso latte drizzled with chocolate plus cinnamon, chile pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and mint. Roasted bitterness and slight chile heat mingles and balances these flavors into the finish.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth and fairly creamy.

O - Like a candy bar with a Mexican twist in a glass without being too sweet. Very appropriate for the holiday season.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%

Bottled on 08/29/14.

Pours opaque black. The thin khaki head fades to a thin ring on top and leaves spotty lace.

The smell is of spent coffee grounds, chili peppers, dark chocolate and burnt wood.

The taste is of coffee, dark fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate and a hint of chili pepper heat.

The texture is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

An interesting take on Mexican hot chocolate. The smell is much stronger than the taste. Solid aromas and flavors although, I feel this would benefit from a fuller mouthfeel.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle - Mexican-style chocolate? Nice - Christmas meets the Day of the Dead!

This beer pours a solid black, with a faint red cola basal ring, and two chubby fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and somewhat creamy brown head, which leaves some interpretive art paint splatter lace around the glass as it slowly bleeds away.

It smells of zingy green chilies, dry cocoa, a bit of bitter coffee bean, vanilla pods, metallic cinnamon and other earthy spices, and a slightly charred caramel maltiness. The taste is grainy and bready caramel malt, some free-range ashiness, still heady and spicy green chilies, a weird nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon spice joint, strangled vanilla, some sour milked coffee, and an understated earthy, leafy, and floral hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly thorough in its well-rounded frothiness, the body a big-boy medium weight, and sort of smooth, if you discount the pervasive sense of Denver-area taco condiment wafting throughout. It finishes sweet, believe it or not, as the chocolate and lingering spice insist on grotesquely reminding me of increasingly distant Yuletide confections.

Well, I suppose this sort of thing flies better the closer one is to the Mexican border, but as a Canuck with no Latino heritage, I can appreciate the stellar overall brewing prowess (especially the well-hidden elevated ABV), but as an ode to the holiday season, it just doesn't resonate all that much - Ay, Caramba!

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Photo of RickS95
1.97/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pitch black pour with a tan head. Very opaque. Unfortunately, the head never forms with the pour, only with a swirl. It's a beautiful head and it does retain well, but I shouldn't have to swirl it. Almost no lacing.

My beer might be too cold, but I'm getting almost nothing in the nose. After a few minutes in the snifter, I'm starting to pick up coffee grounds, but that's it. No roast, no malt, no hops, no spices.

Nothing in the taste either. No vanilla, no nutmeg, no chocolate. It tastes like watered down coffee.

The only thing I can pick up is bitterness. There's not a hint of sweet, not a hint of spice. Just bitterness. It lingers in the back of your mouth until the next awful sip.

Overall, this is the worst Stone beer I've ever had, and I've had my share. It's also as bad a stout as I can remember, particularly a mocha stout...particularly a milk stout, of which this clearly isn't. Other than look, this was terrible. Borderline drain pour.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours out a very dark brown that looks pitch black in the glass. Topped by a frothy tan head that boasts excellent retention and lacing.

S: Decant dark chocolate, almost chocolate cake, medium-roast coffee, brown/caramelized sugar, brown bread, hints of warmth from chili pepper and cinnamon.

T: Upfront, wave after wave of sweet and bitter chocolate. In the middle, you get toffee, burnt sugar, and brown bread, which leads a restrained, well-played spiciness. The cinnamon and nutmeg really shine, with the chili peppers boosting the warmth along. Then you get a nice bittersweet cocoa finish that lingers long of dark chocolate!

F: Medium-full body, smooth and sleek, moderate carbonation.

O: This is excellent. A winter warmer and dessert all at once. Great job, Stone!

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Photo of puboflyons
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. 2017 batch. Sampled January 1, 2008.

The pour is a deep black color with a soft, silky modest tan head that fades some.

I pick up an array of cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla cream in the aroma right away. Kind of a spiciness too.

The body is medium to full with a kind of creamy texture.

The taste is alive with cinnamon and spice with a more muted vanilla character as well as the coffee bitterness that I kind of expected. It is excellent for what it is.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Bottle picked up at the COOP.. Seen it around town at all the bottle shops... Not sure what I paid, but I would guess about $9. Enjoyed tonight from my Funk Fest goblet... Thin 1/2" tan head rises up and dies back almost as quickly... the brew is the standard black... appears a little thin too.

Nose is pretty damn good... Mexican chocolate spiked with a small amount of chili... Cinnamon is the big player with the coffee, lessor nutmeg and just hints of the peppers.

Flavor is honestly a little watery, could use a bit more malt backbone to carry all the different elements... cocoa is present but needs a little sweetness to push it ahead, same with the vanilla.. Instead the sweet spices are the big players... chilies are barely perceptible.

Medium bodied.. lighter carbonation makes it seem more full.. Pretty drinkable despite my above negativity.

I think Stone really hit the nail on the head of what they were trying to accomplish... for my palate, I would like slightly more residual maltiness... but this is still a big winner.


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Photo of VashonGuy
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap (nitro).

Nice foamy nitro head, with big lacing that lasts even after the head is gone.

The aroma is cinnamon and chocolate ... or Mexican chocolate, just as advertised. The taste is Mexican chocolate together with coffee. The chili pepper is very mild, almost not there. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Overall, this is a great beer. The combination of flavors is exceptionally well done ... it's not as sweet as some chocolate stouts, with the chocolate blended well with the cinnamon and other spices. Fun beer!

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottles 12/03/15

Pours black and slightly thin. Dark tan single finger head recedes quickly to a thin film atop the dark black body.

Smells cocoa and spicy, lots of spicy. Cinnamon comes on first, but it soon fades into the layers of chocolate and pepper. I believe there's nutmeg, but I'm not getting it. Whatever, this smells awesome!

Taste starts all cocoa, dark chocolate exactly like the drinking chocolate my Mexican wife loves in the winter. Stone nailed the flavor. Spices kick in and theres a touch of heat at the end... could be the peppers, could be the booze, either way its enjoyable. Slightly bitter at the close, but you don't really notice with all this chocolate goodness going on.

Overall this thing is kick ass, and I look forward to stashing a couple bottles away.

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Photo of SovereignGood
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from BDBS down in SD.

Look: Poured nice and smooth with a thin head that seems to have dissipated quickly but each sip leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. Color is deep black/brown with a hint of red ruby light coming through.

Smell: Like a fresh cup of mocha with some spice. Each note of what they used in this beer is easily recognizable and the smell keeps drawing you back for one more sip.

Taste: Dark roast coffee with cocoa and cinnamon spices, the peppers coming in the back. Tastes very similar to Mexican hot chocolate so Stone nailed it with the flavor.

Mouthfeel: A medium body beer that isn't too light but nothing too syrupy like some heavier stouts can be.

Overall, I'm really glad I was able to try this beer. I only picked up a single 12oz but now I will be looking for a 6-pack. Definitely look out for this one next time you are on a hunt.


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Photo of ColdOneKev
2.87/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

The cinnamon and nutmeg were just too much for me. This is solid stout and I certainly appreciate trying something different but this was a miss for me.

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Stone / Chris Banker / Insurgente - Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.34 out of 5 with 4,138 ratings