Saturday, December 19, 2009

Xocolatl Review & Revisions

Appearance - a slightly hazy brownish orange, almost no head and that dissipates nearly immediately leaving only a few bubbles around the rim of the glass

Aroma - huge chocolate nose, subtle malt sweetness, spices are fairly subdued if I didn't know there was cinnamon, anise and annato in there I wouldn't be able to pick them out, the chili is there but overshadowed by the chocolate

Taste - There is an immediate rush of chili flavor that is then completely overwhelmed by cocoa. The cocoa bitterness is very well balanced by the very malty sweet backbone of the beer, it gives it more of a chocolate flavor than a cocoa flavor. The cinnamon and anise aren't really discernible but the annatto provides a very nice earthiness that really compliments the other flavors well

Mouthfeel - Medium-high body from all the residual sugars with a fairly high amount of carbonation, it has a very prickly feel on the roof of your mouth as you drink

Drinkability - This is a pretty easy to drink beer, definitely more of a dessert or after dinner drink than anything else. Still its not cloying and the I really like the earthiness of the spices, I think a bit of spice could really change the flavors of the beer.

Notes/Thoughts - Overall I was happy with the first take on this concept, I think I will brew up another small batch soon with a few small tweaks...

1) I really think this could benefit from some heat from the chilis, they have dark chocolate candy bars with jalapeno that they sell around Phx that are amazing and the combination works better than you could imagine, I'm not sure how no heat made it through to bottling, maybe next time I will add a bit of jalapeno to the recipe

2) Add slightly more cinnamon and anise, I think these should both be in the background but they need to be at least prominent enough that I can taste them if I know what I'm looking for

3) Remember to add the hazelnut extract at bottling!

4) Slightly lower carbonation, less of a CO2 bite will let more of the subtle flavors come through
Compared to the beer this was based off, I am pretty happy with the results. It really showcases the chocolate flavors and I believe with a few tweaks will be exactly what I was shooting for.

Brewday 9/26/09 - Recipe & Notes

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