Glassware: The chocolate aroma emanating from this beer is a must to fully appreciate how incredible this beer tastes. Glassware that allows the beer to warm to room temperature also helps to unlock the magic within. The Spiegelau stout glass is a great first choice, but not always a practical one at many bars. A snifter glass or nonic pint glass are good choices, both will trap the aroma and allow a slow movement toward room temperature.
Description: Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout pours a beautiful dark brown with a slight reddish hue and cloud-like tan head. The smell of chocolate pours from this beer and overpowers much of the scents. As you get your nose in the beer, be careful that head lasts for a bit, you can pick up hints of vanilla and the subtle aroma of roasted malts with notes of coffee. Upon your first sip you will taste the chocolate explosion from this stout. The taste is very reminiscent of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, but in a good way and is not cloyingly sweet. After swallowing, the chocolate sweetness lingers on the palate, but soon fades leaving you wanting more. The stand out feature of this beer is the smoothness with the perfect amount of carbonation. This smoothness makes this beer incredibly drinkable. This beer is great for any Valentine’s Day celebration and good for those who claim to hate dark beers.
Food pairing: Many stouts make for a great pairing with desserts, but this is especially true for Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. The rich sweet flavors melt into any dessert, but is not overly sweet ruining the balance. Since this is a great Valentine’s Day beer try pairing with a variety of chocolates for a simple and straight forward match; it goes well with dark chocolate and any cake. For a flavor match, try pairing with a German chocolate cake. If you are looking for a contrast taste, pair with a banana cream cake. If you want something unique, make a banana chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and pair that with this beer. Another simple pairing is with ice cream. There are few beers that make for a better beer float than this beauty. Place a scoop or two of your favorite vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy.
The Final Word: Samuel Smith’s is a fantastic English brewer that has created some of the most balanced and enjoyable beers widely available. They have perfected many English styles and this Chocolate stout combines the qualities of a smooth English stout with subtle sweetness. The true highlight with this beer is the balance maintained between the sweet chocolate and bitter roasted malts, this is a beer that could easily tip into the cloying category but instead is a showcase of balance. While American IPA’s and their variants are certainly the darlings of the craft beer world we must not forget the great English beers widely available. Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout is one of the best stouts, perhaps the best beer you will ever drink.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Samuel Smith Old Brewery
Beer: Organic Chocolate Stout
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
ABV: 5 %