Tasting Notes: Double Bass from Starr Hill Brewery

doublebassbottle500As the work week finally comes to an end, we settle into our Friday by indulging in some Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) for this week’s Tasting Notes.

Starr Hill Brewery introduced Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout in January as a new member of their All Access Series, a limited lineup of the brewery’s “most unique & inspired beers.”  This offering is a 7.8% ABV Imperial Stout that has been loaded with six malts (2-Row, Chocolate, Caramel, Crystal, Golden Oats and Flaked Barley), cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and lactose.  Clearly all about that malt and chocolate, the decadent recipe for Double Bass produces aromatic and flavor notes of dark chocolate, mocha, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit. Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is a limited release that is available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  If you wish to try this offering, Double Bass is still pouring in the Starr Hill Brewery Tap Room and can also be found hanging around on shelves and taps at select craft beer establishments in Alabama, Virginia, and other areas within the brewery’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all caught up on this beer’s background information, it is finally time to put some Double Bass in this snifter and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance:  Double Bass pours as a glossy, inky black in color.  Held to direct light, the deep and dark blacks hold but a bit of cola brown presents itself at the top of the pour.  The body is completely opaque, so the carbonation level cannot be observed visually.  The pour produced well over a finger of mocha colored foam (impressive considering the size of this snifter), and the head gradually falls to a thin top cap over time.  When swirled in the glass, the beer leaves behind a coating oil slick that makes it difficult for any lace to gain a firm hold.

Aroma:  Sweet and deeply roasted malts hit the nose first.  The malts eventually open up to expose luscious notes of chocolate.  Creamy fudge, rich dark chocolate, and satisfying milk chocolate are all present.  The roasted malts circle back around to finish things off with a black coffee character that works beautifully with all the chocolate currently filling the air.

Taste:  The flavor profile begins with a huge pop of bittersweet dark chocolate, and this note holds for quite some time.  As it fades, tones of cream, vanilla, cocoa and milk chocolate develop to create a flavor combination that is strikingly reminiscent of a gourmet, scratch-made hot chocolate.  The roasted malts supply closing notes of caramelized brown sugar and dark coffee.  Rich and intense, but still smooth and composed.

Mouthfeel:  Silky in texture, this Stout is on the lighter side of full-bodied thanks to a lifting carbonation presence. It is sweet on the palate, but still has a good amount of balancing bitterness from the heavily roasted malts, cocoa nibs and added hops.  Although gently warming, it certainly does not feel like this beer is pushing 8% ABV.  Decadence also resides in the aftertaste as it leaves behind notes of dark chocolate and fine coffee.

Final Thoughts:  To put it simply, Double Bass is a wonderfully executed, big, beautiful Chocolate Stout.  It possesses all of the roast and chocolate character you could possibly want while still somehow avoiding being overly sweet or cloying.  The hops are dialed in perfectly to stealthily provide balance while hiding behind the lightly bitter qualities supplied by the cocoa nibs and the more heavily roasted malts. Oh, and the mouthfeel on this Stout . . . a thing of beauty.  It has more than enough weight to it to firmly establish itself as a robust representation of the style, but it does so with a gliding gracefulness while on the palate.  Factor in that the ABV is so well hidden, and then you are left with a full-flavored Imperial Stout that maintains an almost unrivaled level of drinkability.  If there was a list of beers out there that makes a case for any time of year being Stout Season, Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout would certainly make our Top 5.  Prost!