Chocolate Sombrero | Clown Shoes

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Chocolate SombreroChocolate Sombrero

Brewed by:
Clown Shoes
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Roasted dark malts plus extra chocolate malts plus ancho chile plus cinnamon plus organic vanilla extract plus a chocolate eating, beer drinking, Clown Shoes wearing, multi limbed, gorgeous and glorious Mexican wrestler on the label. That’s the recipe for a Chocolate Sombrero!

Added by rab53 on 02-26-2012

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Reviews: 314 | Ratings: 1,740
Photo of GreatStoutman
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/15/2015... About three months ago

Pours black with creamy tan head which persists with nice lacing.

Smell of sweet, roasts malts and hints of pepper. Subtle on the nose.

Taste is chocolate, vanilla and malts with a light backing of peppers. Subtle bitterness toward the end to balance things out.

Feel is full with good carbonation and a nice creamy, chewy mouthfeel. Long finish brings out the bitter elements and the pepper becomes noticeable.

Overall, this is very smooth and creamy, easy to drink with a modestly complex layer of flavors. You'll have a hard time finding a readily available and reasonably priced Mexican stout better than this.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss 26th anniversary tulip glass
From: Botlecraft North Park in North Park (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.79
Purchased: Feb. 10, 2016
Consumed: Feb. 17, 2016
Misc.: Bottled on Jan. 13, 2016

Really looking forward to this one. Have pretty much loved everything I’ve had from Clown Shoes so far (checks excel document, sees an average of 4.06 (91/A-) from four reviews) and this one really piqued my interest. A Mexican-Style Chocolate Stout. Can think of two similar styles and I loved them both - Stone Xocoveza for the Holidays and New Year (4.44 (98/A)) and Elevation Beer’s Montanya (4.23 (94/A-)). Would be disappointed with anything worse than a 4.10.

Poured a very dark mahogany, almost black, color with 1-to-2 fingers of tan, fizzy head. Average spots of lacing on the sides of the glass. Average retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled spicy Mexican chocolate, dark chocolate, spicy chili cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, roasty coffee malts and some hints of dark toffee. (Smell - 4.00)

Tasted better than the smell. Not as spicy as the nose either. More like an Imperial Milk Stout. Getting dark, spicy Mexican chocolate, milk chocolate, dark cocoa powder, toffee, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, smoke and traces of artificial vanilla. Spiciness grows as it goes down. (Taste - 4.00)

Full-to-medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, spicy, but smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Really liked this beer. It was maybe not quite as good as I hoped, but close. Would recommend it for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

4.04 | 90 | A-

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Photo of fatbot
3.14/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark pour from 12 oz bottle with very thin head and spicy aroma. I really liked the bite of the ancho chili with the dark malts. Unfortunately, I did not get a lot of the chocolate, vanilla or cinnamon flavor. I don't think age is a factor (beer was bottled a couple of months ago on 11-17-2015). It wasn't has heavy as I anticipated, but delivered a lot of warmth from the high ABV. I liked the concept, but would have liked to see a better flavor balance.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My first Clown Shoes beer. Such a funny company.

Pours hazelnut brown out of the bottle, develops into a dark brown-black body, 100% opaque. Head forms weak at 1 finger, but retains fairly well. Lace is hilly and sparse.

Lots of cheap chocolate on the aroma, perhaps way past its expiration date; lactose and oats; with coffee, pepper seeds, and light chili powder.

Very funky flavor, the chocolate is without a doubt a welcome base, but after that it gets strange. A twisted, hair-raising alcohol burn accompanied by ashy flavors and Serrano peppers. After a few sips you get used to it, but it's still very strange. Coffee and blackberry jam flavors surface as it warms a bit.

Feel starts off watery and refreshing, then builds to a swirl of body and then finally to a thick finish. Lingering hotness continues after the swallow.

Overall, I think I'd pass next time for what i paid ( $4 a 12 oz bottle). About as fruity as its label, ha. 1/3 of it actually ended up in the drain.

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Photo of Mongrel
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Mucho chocolatey. The other adjuncts don't really shine through and I'm getting no heat from the chiles. There's a little bitter coffee on the finish, but otherwise this is just a smooth, creamy chocolate stout. Very little alcohol presence, which is impressive. Not bad.

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Photo of MicTar
2.63/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

4oz from draft

L: black opaque with white head
S: very faint vanilla and chili and strong chocolate
T: strong bitter dark chocolate taste almost reminiscent of bakers chocolate
F: smooth with very little carbonation
O: not a favorite. I love stouts but this was just not an easy one to finish and I only had a four oz pour

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Photo of IamwhatIdrink
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice stout, easy to drink . The chile is just perfect at the end, not too sharp. Smooth beer that smelled right and you can drink more than one or two of at the time.

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Photo of mkh012
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: almost black, a hint of red in the right light. not much lacing on the glass. one finger of tan head dissipates quickly.
Smell: smoke, chiles, alcohol, dark chocolate, slight piney hops
Taste: largely follows the nose. you get coffee, dark chocolate, chiles (subtle but certainly present), some warmth from the alcohol. my only complaint is that it isn't a little sweeter/creamier on the back end.
Overall: a solid brew and one I enjoyed drinking but nothing particularly special. could use a little more chocolate and a little less coffee/smoke to round it out, though others have suggested the opposite

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Photo of Chris_Huston
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured slightly cooler than room temp into tuliped snifter. Closer to a soda head than a quality beer froth that wanes quickly to nothing. Literally nothing. Not like most good stouts that dwindle but keep a wee layer of the pleasant tan leather creamy froth. Nice classic dark brown in the brew itself, though.

Initial whiff is interestingly complex, but also vague, and more to the point the chocolate is fighting for the front seat with coffee and smoke, and the dancing partner is an alcohol scent. Makes it tasty enough for a smoked or coffee stout, but if you're looking for cacao you'd be better off with Prairie's Bomb or Deep Ellum's Double Brown. If we ignore the cacao miss, it still far from threatening the best coffee stouts, e.g. Founder's Breakfast Stout, but it is a tasty smokey stout.

The ephemeral head translates to a slick, somewhat watery feel. Though not ruining the experience, one does wish for a touch of creaminess. As a normal stout it would seem to be on the light side, to say nothing of an imperial/double.

In the end, ti doesn't really deliver what it promises, but "falling" to the level of a smoky, coffee porter still serves adequate beer satisfaction.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a large snifter.

Out of the bottle dark chestnut brown, then getting into dark mahogany brown and a bit oily out of the bottle. Just a hair of light getting through this dark body, but barely a flicker of head/puck of espresso brown created that dissolves and disappears quickly. Very fine collar, a bit of a non existent top as well, and looking a little shiny and slick.

Aroma seems to fill the desire and explanation of the bottle. Good green pepper aromas, even a hint of peanut butter and chocolate tones. Spicy Mexican like chocolate notes really dominate. Not so much sweet tones, or hints of cinnamon or vanilla, but the pepper and chocolate angle is not excessive and is very nicely balanced on the beer. Quite mouthwatering actually.

Palate sort of gets lost somewhere. Light bodied and a bit too much for an Imperial, kind of a very wet porter character instead, and some twinging slightly acrid grain. Pepper angle is pretty mild surprisingly giving off hardly any heat at all anywhere in the palate it seems. Roasted grain takes a bit of a char angle, but much of the flavors hinted on the nose really seem to have been completely buried. Mid palate sort of has a bit of pepper to it, and even with time the chocolate angle comes off a bit milky strangely.

It's not bad, but the beer feels completely dumbed down somehow, and really seems to be a bigger letdown after such an intriguing aroma at first.

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Photo of kitch
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 fl oz bottle bottled on 12th March 2015 and poured into a Spiegelau stout glass.

Appearance: It poured a deep dark brown colour with a one finger tanned head that dissipates quickly and leaves some stringy lacing.

Aroma: Strong chocolate aromas mixed in with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

Taste: Much like the aroma, chocolate is the main theme with a definite roasty element to it. There’s a hint of vanilla and the finish is chocolate ice cream. I don’t know what ancho chilli tastes like, but the spice in this one is very light and in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: The first time I tried this, it was at a tasting and I didn’t like it too much, but now with a proper sit down, I enjoyed it. The aromas and taste was pleasant and you don’t get the 9% at all.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Spicy chocolate stout is not a new concept, but I still enjoy tasting different ones. The Chocolate Sombrero is Clown Shoes' take on the idea. Coming from a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A half-inch of soapy head rests atop an ink black colored ale. Spotty lace dots the glass, and head retention is good. I smell spicy chocolate and cinnamon, with the concoction leaning towards the spices. They certainly hit the mark with the aroma, and with the taste as well. Spicy chiles are the first thing that your palate senses, before a wave of cinnamon and spoonful of chocolate calms the spicy character. There is raostiness and smoke from the malt, showing it's a stout at heart. It's a big bodied ale and slightly chewy, suitable for cold evenings or dessert pairings. Any way this goes, the Chocolate Sombrero is sure to pick you up.

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Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of tan head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Carob & cocoa, both fade quickly, some chille surfaces once warm

T: Follows the nose, a little chille heat & roastyness up front with a little cinnamon. Cocoa, cinnamon, a little roastyness & vanilla once warm, some heat building, faint, not a lot, smokeyness too. Finishes dry with a little roastyness, vanilla & a little heat

MF: Medium body, semi-firm carbonation

Very drinkable, just not as complex as I was hoping for. This a little bit lower tier for these guys

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I get no chocolate from this beer's aroma. Oh wait, that's a lie, I should have said "I get a shitload of chocolate from this beer's aroma." It's not the dark chocolate a lot of stouts offer, rather it's closer to milk chocolate. I also get a nice earthiness, as well as a subtle chili component. A little simple, but it hits what was intended. Same with the flavor profile. It opens chocolaty, and it ends...chocolaty. There are gentle dark fruits lying around the middle, and the faintest hint of chili pepper. I really have to concentrate to find the latter, and I mean really concentrate. It goes down easily, albeit at the cost of a thin, porter-esque texture. Carbonation is at least gentle Still, I enjoy it for what it is (though I wish for more chili pepper). I prefer Blaecorn Unidragon from this brewery, but hey, that's $12 a bomber - this is a good chocolate stout that's in 4-packs for even less.

Dear Clown Shoes: how about some Blaecorn Unidragon 4-packs, huh?

3.47/5: Enjoyable, but not a Bomb! killer

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Photo of emyers
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Pours near black with a thin light brown head. Not a whole lot of lacing.

Smell is cinnamon, milk chocolate, and some subtle hints of chile peppers. Not quite as much depth as the best Mexican chocolate stouts I've had, but the components are all there and pretty well balanced.

Taste is similar to the smell - milk chocolate, ancho chiles, and cinnamon in an even mix. Could use a bit more of a dark chocolate base to bring it over the top, but all of the components are there and reasonably balanced. Finish is bittersweet with a touch of earthy hops coming in to mix with the chiles and cinnamon. Very solid flavor profile.

Medium-bodied with medium to high carbonation for the style. This is the weakest dimension of the beer to me - comes off over-carbed and a little too thin.

Very solid example of the style. It probably won't blow you away, but it has everything you want in a Mexican chocolate stout for a fraction of the price of the big names out there.

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 09/17/2015 into a tulip glass. More brown than black color with thin layer of head. Nose is chocolaty and boozy. Taste is sweeter than desired, with a boozy finish. Mouthfeel is a ltitle thin. Prefer Xocoveza.

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Photo of Brownc923
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I have never been a fan of a Chocolate Beer. This beer rocked my world. The look is warm and inviting. A deep color that says, "I am chocolate." The taste is a deep chocolate that has the finish of a very sophisticated brew. I am eternally grateful to Roszi's in Lakewood OH for tasting this beer one fall evening when my son and I just stopped in for a quick 6pack before a Brown's game. I share it with select friends by telling them that they will have the best desert ever

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Photo of kjlcm
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Second time trying, I like so much I felt I should review. Very dark pour with a minimal chocolate head. A great blend of chocolate and a hint of spicy heat on the nose. Love the nose. The taste follows the nose. Just love it. A bit thin for a 9% beer but I am not complaining. This will definitely be part of my normal rotation, especially now that the colder months are rolling around.

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Photo of Strike00
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pours black with a coffee color head, dissipates pretty quickly

the smell is dark chocolate with a roast scent too it

The taste is a deep with a big bite of dark chocolate. There is a sweet underlying taste to this stout but not overpowering. A nice bitterness that lasts a bit.

a nice medium bodied stout

Overall it is a pretty good stout. The Chocolate is very prominent and I could have used a little less of it. I am glad I picked this up though.

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Photo of Hahnin
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I love clown shoes, great Northern Mass beer. I also love chocolate stouts, I would have liked this more with a lower alcohol content and sans vanilla. But that is what I would have liked. This is a respectable beer and is probably many drinkers favorites. Great beer and will be loved many I expect. Certainly worth a try. The second one was much better!!!haha, the third should be dayleshushhh

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Photo of 57md
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours almost black with ruby edges and a half finger of head. The nose has some chocolate essence. The flavor profile dials up a decent dose of chocolate flavor with bitter cocoa finish. All-in-all, the body is a trace thin.

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Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pretty dang tasty. As with many other beers in this style, there was a slight copper taste on the backend, but there is lots of chocolate and vanilla on both the nose and taste. Overall this is a very good beer, but not amazing.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 7/30/15

Pours near black with reddish tan highlights. Little head forms but disappears.

Nose is slight chocolate, and dark fruit.

Taste follows with a good chocolate base up front and the cinnamon is just there enough in the background to be known. Some slight hop bitterness lingers a bit. Very little spiciness but it's blended in just right. Adds some bite to the smooth chocolate but doesn't overwhelm it by any means

Medium body and somewhat mouth-coating. Good bit of carbonation but goes pretty good with the blend of flavors in it.

I was a little nervous when i picked this up but the price was right. Not sure how I would feel about potential spiciness and chili pepper heat. I'm surprised as to how much I like this. The pepper and cinnamon are definitely there but way backstage of the chocolate and decent hop kick within.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a wispy, thin, bubbly, halo of tan head. Aromas of bitter chocolate, chili pepper spice and heat, vanilla, heavy cinnamon, and subtle mocha and earthy tones. Flavors are pepper spice and heat forward, with a follow of rich Mexican chocolate, both milky and gritty, followed by a blend of milk, heavy dose of cinnamon, some earthy undertones, and hints of roasted coffee. Pretty dynamic on the palate, but the cinnamon comes off slightly heavy handed. It works though. The body is big and chewy, with a dry undertone, all supporting a solid linger of chocolate, vanilla, chili pepper, and cinnamon for the aftertaste. The finish is slow, dry, and with a solid linger of chocolate and spice. Pretty decent brew.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a stem glass. Bottled on 7/30/15

LOOK: Almost pitch black, cola brown at the edges, with a thin, short lived brown head.

SMELL: A mix of bitter cocoa and sweet dark chocolate, with some extra creamy vanilla sweetness rounding it out. Faint spicy herbal/pepper notes tickle the nasal passages, allow with some licorice, brown sugar, and smokiness.

TASTE: Nice taste! Even better than the small. Lots of different types of chocolate; dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and baking cocoa, creamy vanilla, woody oaky notes, brown sugar, licorice, and burnt toast. Very faint herbal, black pepper and spice notes keep it interesting, but never distracting or overpowering. Faint coffee notes on the back end as well.

FEEL: Medium-full bodied. Easy drinking up front, but turns creamy in the middle. Nice medium-light carbonation. Finishes fairly clean, only a lightly chocolate aftertaste.

OVERALL: I was pretty impressed by this, my first Mexican hot chocolate-style stout. Very enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this and buy it again.

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Chocolate Sombrero from Clown Shoes
87 out of 100 based on 314 ratings.
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