The label of this 7.3%, alcohol beer says that it’s a “stout brewed with cacao nibs and marshmallow cream and aged on oak chips,” which if you’re like me has you fearing a sugary and s’mores-ish monstrosity.
But don’t worry, because Smuttynose has this one dialed in, more or less. Pitch black in colour, it has a sweet and creamy chocolate aroma that calls to mind mocha espresso with heavy cream. The start is sweet with dark and dried fruit — prune and date, mostly — and chocolate, and also somewhat marshmallow-y, but in an oddly inviting way, appealing rather than off-putting in its confectionery demeanor.
The mid-palate grows much more coffee-ish and dark chocolaty, subduing the sweetness beneath layers of bitter chocolate and roasted malt, with some hints of spicy, citrusy hoppiness poking through. Those hops only truly show themselves in the finish, though, with a drying of the body and a lingering spicy chocolate bitterness. The marshmallow cream never quite goes away, but I think that’s a good thing, since in a way it is the tie that binds the whole beer together.
All in all, this is a dessert beer that stands on its own. I could easily pair it with a chocolaty dish, say a chocolate cream pie, but I’d also be more than happy sitting back and sipping it on its own after a meal.