Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) | Muskoka Brewery

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Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)

Brewed by:
Muskoka Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

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.

25 IBU

Added by mrnobody on 12-05-2010

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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 163
Photo of Antikythera
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great stuff. Caramel-coloured head and sweet chocolaty aroma. Practicaly opaque in the glass even if it's held up to light. Most stouts that say 'chocolate' on the label don't smell or taste like chocolate to me. This one does. I'm not sure where the cranberry is -- it might just be adding a little fruitiness to the aroma. Even without it, this is great stuff. The flavour is sweet, chocolatey, and dark, and it feels creamy on the tongue. Not as candy-sweet as a proper sweet stout like Dragon, so it's more than just a dessert beer.

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Photo of BeerWatcher
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2013 edition, which was produced in 2012, aged by Muskoka for a full year, purchased by me in 2013, and then further aged by me for an additional year, trying it for the first time today. Very dark brown , bordering on black with very slight reddish hilights in the light. One finger off off-white head, that leaves behind some truly beautiful lacing. Aromas of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Some cranberries, and I believe some mint hilights too. A nice creamy palate introduces tastes of cocoa, vanilla bean, and a hint of red fruits dancing in the background on the swallow. Between their aging and my aging, this is just velvet on my tongue. Good on you Muskoka for producing this gem.

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Photo of TLJ
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stout pours a deep brown, almost black with relatively little head which is tan in colour. The aroma is sweeter than the taste; reminiscent of home-made hot chocolate heating on the stove. I also detect ripe cherries, toasted vanilla, orange peel, and coffee.

This beer tastes exactly like Ecuadorian dark chocolate with its notes of cherries, wood and almonds. The cranberry flavour is not prominent, although I find that combined with the light carbonation, the brightness of the cranberries shines through the rich, creamy taste of this stout.

The body of the beer is potent and extremely lingering with the carbonation felt at the tip of the tongue. Nevertheless, this beer is drinkable in its richness whereas some stouts can be too heavy and cloying.

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Photo of Foddz
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich, opaque black with about a finger of cola-brown head. Minimal light penetration when set on an angle, the light that does filter thru is a rich cola/caramel. Head dies back quickly but maintains a ring around the glass.

S: Rich chocolate and coffee notes with a distinctive tart note. A little bit of burnt wood is in the offering as well. While the tartness in the nose gives away the cranberries, the fruitness I'd expect to smell is understated - otherwise a very nicely balanced nose.

T: The taste is also well balanced. Dark chocolate mingles nicely with the coffee and roasted flavours. Subtly tart cranberry presents towards the middle and plays well with the other flavours. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and the roasted coffee and chocolate linger for a very pleasant mocha aftertaste.

M: Smooth on the initial presentation, but the carbonation and alcohol lend a slight bite. Leaves a pleasant dryness, with a slightly chalky sensation, presumably from the cocoa.

O/D: What an excellent seasonal brew. Very glad I picked up two bottles of this! Looks and smells good, tastes great. Well balanced and a pleasure to drink. The slight harshness in the mouthfeel keeps one from drinking this too quickly - which is fine when one can simply enjoy the aftertaste.

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Photo of Stocean1
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful bottle poured into a pint glass. Massive three finger head (color of caramel) perched atop a near black body. The head is full of big bubbles and is well retained. The lacing is patchy, very nice.

The scent is burnt malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, with a hint of cranberries.

The Taste is malty chocolate up front with a vanilla note, alcohol but nice, cranberries peak out on the finish.

Medium body with a relatively creamy mouthfeel, little carbonation and a nice amount of bitterness.

Overall, anotherbrew that demonstrates muskoka's elevation to the upper tier of craft brewers, bravo.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of liamt07
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of marty21
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Pours pitch black with 2 fingers worth of brown creamy foam. Settles to a thin cap and left a bit of lacing.

S: A bit of roasted malt with lots of dark chocolate and at times I get a quick scent of the cranberries with the chocolate. But I probably wouldn't notice it if this beer wasn't advertised with cherries. But the nose is primarily chocolate.

T: Roasted malt and chocolate up front and finishes with some sweet cherries. No taste of alcohol at all.

M: Light carbonation with a medium body. Very creamy mouthfeel.

O: I decided to buy this since it says best before March 31st and quickly review it. You get everything in the taste that it advertised on the bottle. It's a bit expensive but after drinking it I would say it was worth it.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a shade below pitch black. You can see a bit of brown shining through. About a finger and a half of head, which slowly simmers down to half a finger as you drink. Lace sticks to the glass like artwork. Smells deep of chocolate, almonds and cherries. I'm trying to detect some cranberries, but my nose does not pick any up. At the back of the nostrils is a bit of an oak scent as well. Taste is almost pure chocolate. Hint of vanilla and oak. And the cranberries are in the aftertaste. Has more of a cranberry, feel, than a cranberry flavour. That bit of tartness left on the tongue after you swallow. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy and sticky. Dare I say, even chewy. Overall, I like this stout. It's a hair below great beer, but definitely good and worth having again beside a winter fire.

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Photo of eat
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque, black body with a thin cover of beige head and bubbly ring around the glass. Some lacing.

The nose shows lots of whole wheat bread, dusty chocolate, espresso, vanilla, minerals, something sour (cranberries?), toffee. Pretty nice smelling stuff.

Well-balanced and accessible flavour. A good amount of milk chocolate is joined by espresso, vanilla, light roasted malt and a subtle sour cranberry presence. I only wish there was a more intense flavour overall, though its lightness does add to drinkability. The extra alcohol isn't showing itself at all; very smooth stuff. Cocoa pairs with earthy hops to leave a slightly drying finish. Maybe it would be nice to taste some more cranberry, but under-doing is always better than overdoing it when it comes to fruit in beer. It is there, but it's pretty subtle.

Good medium body; slightly creamy even. Low carbonation. Nothing wrong with this.

I'd say this is a deliciously successful attempt at something more challenging than most Ontario brewers are attempting. Had I know this stuff would be this good I would have picked up a few more, even at the high price. Dangerously drinkable at 8% ABV. I'd definitely get more of this if I happen to see it again. One of the better Ontario brews I've had. This would be a great bottle to share but I'm having no problem getting through this on my own. Not sure why the best-before date is listed as March 31, 2011; you should be able to get at least a year out of this one. No sign of going bad two weeks before the deadline.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle served fairly cold into a pint glass. Awesome looking bottle with cork and cage. Only downside is that it's about $14 CDN.

Appearance - dark brown nearly black in color. Small half finger of head is poured and recedes quickly. Opaque as hell.

Smell - exactly as you'd expect. Lots of dark chocolate and cranberry. I can almost taste the chocolate covered cranberries through my nose. It's straightforward but very delicious.

Taste - just like the nose, chocolate and cranberries blended together in a smooth mixture. Maybe hints of caramel too.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly light on the tongue, medium high carbonation, and moderately light body. Smooth but not oily or slick.

Overall - a very well executed imperial stout with a taste for chocolate and cranberries. It's exactly what it says it is nothing more nothing less. If it weren't for the prohibitive cost, I would pick this up a little more regularly.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Its winter time now. We've got snow sitting on the ground, gusts of wind that will knock the warmth from your body, and holiday lights and festive songs are beginning to fill the streets and peoples homes. This is the time for comfy sweaters, warm family moments, and soothing holiday food and drink. This is exactly what the boys at theMuskoka Cottage Brewery had in mind when designing their newest seasonal release; the Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout. "Flavorful and warming" is how Muskoka describes it, which are the perfect characteristics for a seasonal beer up here in Canada.

Muskoka went to work here building a rich and creamy stout with chocolate and cranberry flavors. Chocolate stouts are popular all across the world, and have been fused with many different fruit flavors; but I don't know if I have ever seen cranberry before. It is a perfect fit for Muskoka. Very close to Bracebridge Ontario, where the brewery is located, cranberries are harvested fresh - these cranberries find there way right into the Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout (DCCS); melding together the freshness of the harvest with the sweetness of the season.

The DCCS is 8% and comes in Muskoka's new 750ml swing top bottles. I love the bottle design, but Muskoka really needs to cap or cork these bottles. The swing cap mechanism is not very sturdy, and I opened 2 bottles of the Harvest Ale (bottled the same way) that were totally uncarbonated, most likely due to leakage through the seal. The DCCS is available right now in limited supply at the LCBO for $9.95, making one of the more expensive holiday offerings.

I opened the Stout up cool around 10C (50F) and poured it into a deep snifter glass. The pour was smooth and silky originally building a black beer with no life. Soon though as the beer crept up the sides of the glass a mocha brown head began to build and eventually stood a good inch and a half on top of a glowing black beer. The head showed neatly tight carbonation and a soft almond brown color. At first the beer underneath was just black, but when held into the light obvious beams of golden brown, amber reds and bronze easily peered through. The body seems translucent, and dances with a clean array of blackened colors.

The nose is soft and warming, almost creamy. It shows up with smooth and obvious notes of cocoa and light roast with a hint of malt and sweet fruit. At 8% I wasn't sure if the DCCS would blast out at me or fade into its own. It is definitely not billowing a powerful aroma, but is rich enough to excite my nose, and warm in with bittersweet chocolate and soft malty fruits. Hints of dry hoppiness is gentle noticeable, and leaves an overall clean sensation.

The first sip was smooth and cooling to my tongue, and I instantly left the glass alone to warm up a bit. I could tell right away that this beer needs to be be at cellar temperature closer to 14C so that they flavors can unfold on my palate. Minutes later I went back to the DCCS and a silky and creamy wave of black stout melted soft cocoa and warm, bready malts across my tongue and cheeks. Up in the front, and way in the back is the distinct flavor of cocoa powder, not chocolate, cocoa powder. It has that smooth but dry sensation, and is not sweet but bitter cocoa all the way.

The malt flavors here are smooth and unobtrusive; they don't play a very large role in the beers development on your palate, but rather allow soft roast and hints of coffee beans and cocoa to evolve into your palate. An edge of fruity sweetness that showed up in the nose also comes through now in a gentle sweet aftertaste that makes its way across the top of my mouth towards the end of every sip. Cranberry? Maybe. It is very subtle, but is no doubt a fruity sensation.

The mouthfeel is silky and smooth, but somewhat thin and one sided - this goes for the beers itself also. The flavors that show up are genuinely delicious, but are one dimensional and show little if any complexity or depth. This is me just splitting hairs as a beer geek though, because this is a very nice stout with smooth distinct chocolate flavors and a generous fruity aroma. Enjoy the DCCS alone, or with spicy dishes, roast beef, cheese or chocolate desserts.

Pics at:

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Photo of SebD
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice pitch black color to it. It has a nice thick mocha head that formed from a cascade effect and dies down slowly and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of dark chocolate, dark fruit (possibly the cranberries), roasted malts and a hint of caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice dark chocolate character, nice roasty malts, slight black licorice notes and a sweet cranberry note at the end. Slight bitterness coming from the chocolate witch is nice. The 8% ABV is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL caged-and-corked bottle from the LCBO (2012 edition). This is the only one of Muskoka's rotating seasonal offerings that I have not yet tried - but given past experience, I expect I'm in for a pretty good couple glasses of beer. Served only slight chilled; poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque brownish-black colour, topped with one finger of creamy, foamy, beige-coloured head. Retention is decent; it gradually wilts away over the next five minutes or so, leaving behind plenty of sticky lacing, a narrow collar around the edge, and a spotty film on the surface. The aroma is enticing, with lots of cocoa powder and rich chocolate fudge, some mocha, roasted nuts, and a pleasant cranberry tartness to round it all out.

Somehow I doubt they're kidding about the 'double chocolate' part, because this brew's flavour is rife at first with rich dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and the chocolate notes don't really let up from there. Roasted coffee grinds come through as well, followed by dark cherry, anise, baker's chocolate and some light cranberry tartness toward the finish. Roasted, earthy aftertaste with a slight hint of booze and dark chocolate that lingers nicely. Full-bodied and fairly thick, with a slick, almost oily feel left behind on the palate. I must admit, I wasn't expecting an 8% stout to be this full, and it threw me off a little at first, but there's something to be said for its smooth, creamy nature.

Final Grade: 4.03, a solid A-. Muskoka's Winter Beard probably isn't my favourite of their seasonals, but it's still an excellent imperial stout. Surprisingly well-balanced for the style, with the rich sweetness of the chocolate being delicately countered by the roasted character and slightly sour cranberry. It's a brew that's almost too much - but never going overboard or becoming cloying, with just the right amount of warmth from the alcohol to make this into a perfect winter sipper. I really enjoyed this stuff, but at $10.95 a bottle I doubt I'd ever get this more than once a year (although I might get another bottle and crack it next January to see how it develops). Worth a try, but not a worldbeater.

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Photo of ComradeCanadia
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hadn't had a dessert stout in a while, and this totally scratched that itch.

Appearance is black as tar with a thin mocha head that didn't stay around too long.

Smell isn't particularly strong, but I can certainly pick up the chocolate, deep malts, a bit of hops, and the edge of the cranberries.

Taste is very pleasant and smooth. Not too strong. Earth malt flavours dominate the palate with chocolate, coffee, and a kind of burned edge in there, but just a bit. The chocolate isn't particularly strong, but lingers on the palate for a good while. At the front of the palate lie the cranberries with some lemon and orange flavours.

Mouthfeel - This is smooth and nice to drink with a feisty carbonation I quite like. However there is a bit of a chalky texture which lingers that I'm not fond of.

Overall - This is a nice dessert stout I'd be happy to drink again and its mild, muted flavours would make it a good recommendation to craft beer novices.

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Photo of mick303
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - a viscous oily dark brown with some slight whispy film and lacing. Thick and dark, an initial nice dark tan head on it, quite pretty.

S - a rich chocolate liqueur, jammy cranberry, and dark chocolate, roasty and dark malts come through nicely, a rich and intriguing nose, nicely balanced.

T - a rich mouthfeel, smooth liqueur with slight carbonation, sticky molasses and dark malts that linger heavily on the finish, some tannic cranberry and dark cocoa. Some rich flighty chocolate notes, again with some alcohol spiciness. Rich cranberry notes, some mild earthy and a lot of roasty spice.

M - a thick viscous feel, some interesting vegetal notes on the finish, quite a slick feel to it, some light carbonation on the palate.

This bottle had about 1.5 years on it, and the chocolate and dark roast malt notes mellowed nicely. Drinks nicely, with a nice smooth but not overly heavy body. Characterful and well-constructed, full feel with some residual alcohol heat.

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Photo of Rutager
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of korguy123
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011/2012 release into Muskoka tulip.

A- Dark brown/black pour with a light tan two finger head. Lacing is excellent.

S- Bakers chocolate, slight coffee and cranberry sauce (thanksgiving style) Sweet chocolate syrup. Almost reminiscent of a chocolate strawberry sundae.

T- Chocolate syrup galore! The cranberry reminds me more of strawberry jam in the taste. I can remember last years batch having a malt taste and feel (similar to hot chocolate powder. This one is much more refined in my opinion.

M- Full bodied, slightly creamy with a low but satisfying carbonation.

O- Excellent bottle/batch this year. I bought this bottle for a trade that fell through and really had no interest to drink it. I'm glad I did. The malt taste/feel last year was a real put off but that has been remedied!

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of shamus
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice cocoa-coffee flavour. it pours with a reasonable head. Not too foamy. This is a better beer than i was expecting from Muskoka Cottage Brewery as in the past I have had some of their products that were not inviting me back. This does. A fine Winter time chocolate Stout.

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Photo of bryehn
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Absolutely gorgeous dark bottle with a snap top. Gold flecking on the label with full-colour imagery. Beer details, serving instructions and even a downloadable video that can be obtained by taking a picture of a code with your smartphone.

Pours very dark, almost black. There isn't much head on there aside from a nut brown collar.

There is a very deep chocolate aroma, like baker's chocolate doused in cocoa powder. There's a definite red berry tone in there, but it reminds me more of raspberry than cranberry.

Unsurprisingly, the chocolate flavours dominate the taste of the stout, though I also get bready or yeasty tones here. This brew is very bitter overall, with sweetness and red berry flavour coming through on the finish.

The Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout does a fantastic job of hiding its high ABV and I never get a "boozy" aroma or taste from it.

The mouthfeel has a bubbly freshness common to Muskoka Cottage Brewery products that transitions to a very smooth and thick-feeling creaminess.

This is a very drinkable beer that is a real treat worth looking forward to every year. It's kind of like drinking a black forest cake.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours near-black with reddish highlights. Big mocha head off the pour, settles quite slowly. Spotty lacings.

Nice chocolate nose, leans more towards earthy/roasty than sweet.

Big chocolate notes up front, bittersweet. Cranberry contributes in a really nice way. Not fruity at all, but a welcome tartness to counter the dense chocolate.

Nice idea, nicely executed.

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Photo of ludachris
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Part of my last haul at the LC where I managed to pick up nearly every one of their winter seasonals I thought were worthy of purchase. A bit pricey, but I didn't mind dishing out the money to support a local brewery. I'm a big fan of these fancy 750's.

Its completely opaque ink black body is crowned by two fingers of frothy and rich mocha brown head that holds itself nicely. Poured into my snifter, this looks like a fine stout.

Generous portions of cocoa powder, bakers chocolate, and coffee grinds greet the nose immediately. I actually get hints of the cranberries as well, but I think I served this at bit higher than its recommended serving temperature, which based on other reviews, is where the berry notes begin to come out. A nice touch to a sweet and sturdy man of a beer.

Sweet and roasty are the first characterstics that come to mind. Big bakers chocolate and dry cocoa go nicely with the roasted malts, both of which impart a dry feel where pleasantly bitter coffee notes assert themselves. The cranberries do make their way in the finish, asserting their semi-tart character towards the back of the palate.

For the style of beer and ABV that goes along with it, I expected a bit more weight in the body; my only real qualm with this offering. Rich, balanced, and easily drinkable. The only hint of alcohol I get is a subtle warming feel in the back of my throat; the kind of alcohol presence that I enjoy, suiting the season perfectly as well.

Overall, a good AIS and a strong seasonal offering from Ontario. I really liked their fall seasonal and I'd say this one is on par. When breweries list an ingredient that they used on the label, I expect it to be well pronounced in the beer itself. For this beer however, this isn't case. The cranberries added a subtle tart character in both the nose and taste that furthered its complexity rather than being the star of the show. No complaints here, seeing how they did this well. The $9.95 price tag will probably keep me from buying many more bottles of this, put it's worth a try for sure!

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Muskoka Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) from Muskoka Brewery
3.83 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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