Barrel-Aged Chocolate Orange Imperial Stout | Blue Mountain Brewery

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6 Ratings

Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CrellMoset on 02-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6 |  Reviews: 4
Reviews by Tucquan:
Photo of Tucquan
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the brewery on 2010-02-18

A - Rich, dark brown with an inviting, thick head

S - Chocolate, spice, slight orange

T - Like drinking a delicious chocolate beer milkshake with a hint of roasted bitterness. Alcohol taste is evident but not dominating.

M - Medium with mild carbonation. Not as creamy as you'd think from the look and the fact it was on nitor.

D - A few goblets of this would be just the ticket at times.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of afausser
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On nitro tap for valentines day.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark chocolate with a finger of creamy mocha head. Very smooth--looks like candy, and carries a very thick sheet of fine nitro lacing.

Smell: Smells like a combination of hershey's syrup and dark chocolate truffles. Not hot one bit, and smells like chocolate milk, mostly. Slight barrel notes blend in nicely to augment the chocolate. The orange smell is slight, and I wouldn't have even thought of it were it not in the name of the brew. It comes across as a lighter note in the nose, one that is only really picked up on a bit further from the glass than I am accustomed to. As it warms, a hint of banana comes through, and with the chocolate gives a definite impression of chocolate covered bananas.

Taste: The barrel notes really shine through in the taste, and the alcohol hits a bit as well. There's a slight berry taste here as well, maybe strawberries and raspberries, and bourbon as well as a hint of chocolate. Sweet and slightly spicy, with a taste of juicy red apples. this one was aged in petit verdot barrels, and the aftertaste is of red wine. There's really not a lot of orange here, either...its a nice idea, but comes through a lot fainter than I think was intended. I guess what I'm saying is it doesn't come across as a chocolate orange candy, which I think could be delicious in beer form.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is decent, but really unimpressive considering I'd say its about average in spite of it being on nitro. Fine carbonation bubbles, but a little thin, and the alcohol kicks in a bit of an odd way. As it warms it gets overly spicy and strangely thin. I would venture to say that it may even be better off nitro tap (judging by the other aspects of the brew), but I'm unlikely to ever find that out.

Drinkability: decently drinkable the abv shows through-- well, for what it is. Its not particularly well hidden, but its not overly in your face either. Interesting and I love to see the experimentation here--this one has some real potential, and its always exciting to see brewers going out on a limb and trying something new.

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Photo of ncaudle
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of ChaelCox
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of billab914
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub, served in a snifter. It poured a thick looking pitch black color with a frothy creamy nitro head to it. Great looking beer.

Cocoa nibs are very apparent in the aroma with a lot of dark bitter baking choc to it. I get a little of the orange peel to it but not much of the bourbon. A little of the oak wood comes through though. The Orange peel goes very nice with cocoa flavors.

In the taste, dark bitter sweet chocolate mixes with an orange candy liquor like flavor. Not much bourbon again but a little oaky vanilla in the finish. Chocolate and orange come together very well. I got a little bourbon coming out as it warmed.

The mouthfeel is silky and creamy with low nitro carbonation. Very nice beer overall, I loved the orange mixing with the bold chocolate flavors. It was very smooth and flavorful but the bourbon could have added a little more to it. Very good overall though.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Barrel-Aged Chocolate Orange Imperial Stout, 9.0% abv, nitro. Dark Russian aged in wet Petit Verdot barrels, fermented with 6 lbs of mexican cocoa nibs and sweet orange peel.

Appearance: Arrives an opaque, jet black body, resistent even to direct light, and capped by a very interesting head. Interesting not in the form - its a traditional nitro foam, a solid dense mass of cream, interrupted only by the occasional errant bubble - but instead because of the hue. It's a moderate tan but almost has hints of purple or muted orange in it.(or maybe that's my imagination taking the recipe and running wild with it). Amazing retention and lacing, of course, but it has to get the half point nitro steroid reduction.

Aroma: Huge, pure essence of chocolate - Hershey's syrup sweet, creamy, and absolutely pure. The orange notes are present, but only if your nose is a little distance from the glass, above all those heavy, malty aromatics, mainly earth, caramel, and the aforementioned cocoa. Here, they mingle with a soft, subtle vinous note. Its clean and only mildly sharp (by wine standards) presence, contributing the obligatory grape, faint apple and peach, and a kiss of green, oaky wood.

Taste: Decadent. Again, the chocolate is prominent, featuring large up front and even larger in the middle and in the finish. It's wonderfully pure and intense, though I wonder if 5 pounds or even 4 wouldn't have done this beer a bit of a favor. Following on the heels is the vino contribution, a little more pleasant here than in the nose, I think. Raspberries, apples, bananas (which I identified and then learned is a characteristic of young petit verdot grapes, huzzah) and other reasonably well-attenuated fruit sugars and their accompanying esters escort a chalky wood/tannin note, a kiss of vanilla, and some well-integrated acidity in to the sea of dark, toasted, sweet malts and dark fruit that is the Dark Russian. The orange is a little fainter than I'd like, but it is present - again, very pure, and though it intensifies a little as it warms, it seems a little distant, perhaps too obscured by and nondistinct from the wine contribution. Warmth does great things for this one, augmenting the dark fruits present in the Dark Russian and allowing them to mingle with the warmth of the slightly acidic, earthy and red wine notes. "Raspberry truffle" comes to mind.

Mouthfeel: This beer's weakest aspect. The combination of the thinning from the barrel aging and the lightened flavor profile make nitro - in my opinion - not the best serving style for this one. Nitro works very well for the heavier, maltier, creamier brews, but the flavors and thickness of this one generally would seem to suggest forced carbonation might be the way to go.

Drinkability: Brewmaster Taylor Smack mentioned to me yesterday that his last wine barrel-aged brew - last December's double barrel aged chocolate cherry imperial porter - had seemed to him to have almost too much going on. That brew was Dark Hollow (bourbon barrels) and Pollack Vineyard pinot noir barrels, and I have to agree - there, more was less, and though the beer was excellent, he is correct that perhaps a little simplicity would have worked wonders. He follows through here, with a different fruit addition and a different grape varietal, by using the Dark Russian, Dark Hollow's non -bbl aged equivalent, and it works. This beer is much more straightforward, which allows a lot of the complexity of the wine barrel aging to shine through. So, an evolution in their art, and another great beer from a brewery which has nearly solidified its role as the most innovative brewery in Central Virginia.

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Barrel-Aged Chocolate Orange Imperial Stout from Blue Mountain Brewery
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 6 ratings