Stone Xocoveza | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
96
world-class
3,743 Ratings
Stone XocovezaStone Xocoveza
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Milk / Sweet 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.

Added by bccocx on 07-10-2014

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,743
Reviews:
635
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
9.24%
 
 
Wants:
330
Gots:
1,045
For Trade:
41
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,743 |  Reviews: 635
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jaydoc
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

 709 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

stunning, simply stunning, to quote my favorite under appreciated academic. this is so cool, and even though it starts a little weird, the more i drink it the more i love it. its appearance is magic, muted black luster, milkshake thick grayish brown head, with a creamy look and a patient feel that just makes me want it more. the nose shows way more chili pepper than expected, and plenty of coffee too, with the bitter roast being way back, and the other additives just highlighting. the grain bill is awesome, full bodied and rich, but dry as heck, which means i can drink a ton of this. long flavor journey here, perfect blend of each component, coffee is earthy, peppers flare up just a bit, vanilla sweetens and unites, cocoa goes earthy again, marrying dark malt and bakers chocolate bitterness. at first it seemed weird, but by the bottom of the bomber im sad there isnt another drop in there. perfect alcohol strength too, cant smell or taste or feel it, but right above 8% abv is where it should be. creamy as anything in feel, so rich and smooth, but being dry too makes it special. one of the best takes on this chili thing. its way smoother than cigar citys, and even more well integrated than perennials. something special here. good on the homebrewer who thought this up, youre a legend mate!

 1,307 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of nmann08
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, pours jet black with a thin wispy and quickly dissipating light tan head.

The nose is pretty unique with alot of very distinct notes. First off, you get the peppers right away, followed by the coffee grounds. A little chipotle and spice mixed in with cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla.

The flavor is unique, moderately sweet, with some lactose. Alot of cinnamon up front, followed by the peppers, bitter dark chocolate and coffee. Good roasty backbone balances this out. The flavors actually complement each other and come together well.

It finishes drier than I would expect with a spicy cinnamon after taste, like a redhot.

Not too hot, good balance, I really like this.

 692 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev -3%

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.

 1,192 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
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!

 1,446 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -25.9%
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).

C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

 4,997 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color capped by an inch of mocha foam; although the stickage is not great, the lacing drapes the side of the glass

Smell: Roast and cocoa, with dried chili, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla tones; the chili imparts a harshness to the aromatic tone

Taste: Cocoa flavors dominate the front end, with the roast emerging shortly thereafter; in the mid-palate, the heat arrives from the chili, along with the nutmeg and cinnamon; the aftertaste brings on the vanilla to complete the parade of flavor tones

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Although the aroma is a bit rough and assertive, the adjuncts blend nicely in the flavor profile; one of the better collaboration beers I have tasted

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Photo of emerge077
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of cinnamon, coffee and black chocolate is quite perfect. Taste is a great mix between some cinnamon, coffee, black chocolate and spicy pepper notes that are all very well balanced. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation. Truly well balance with god level of complexity.

 404 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of zeff80
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Stone Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
4.33 out of 5 based on 3,743 ratings.
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