Review: Southern Tier Choklat Oranj Stout

Review of Southern Tier Choklat Oranj from Southern Tier Brewing in Lakewood, NY.

Beer Type: Stout  ABV: 10.0%  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “Choklat Oranj is the fifth beer currently in our highly regarded Blackwater series. Warlock, Creme Brulee, Mokah and Choklat have RateBeer scores of 97, 98, 99 and 100, respectively. Choklat Oranj is a stout brewed with chocolate and orange peels, opaque black in color, 10.0% abv, and a delicious dessert beer. Perfect alone, or enjoyed as a float. Scoop organic vanilla bean ice cream into a snifter or pint glass and top with Choklat Oranj. It’s impossible to be disappointed.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a rich chocolate scent that does have a hint of orange, and it pours the opaque black color that they mention. The flavor is straight-up semi-sweet chocolate with some bitter roasted notes in the finish. The orange is more of a subtle essence than a flavor component. The rich, thick mouthfeel and bold flavor mask the 10.0% ABV, making this beer go down nice and smooth. Feels a bit like drinking a chocolate bar that’s been melted in a little bit of black coffee (if someone used high-quality artisan chocolate with the word “cacao” somewhere on the label and a fresh-ground premium bean blend coffee brewed up by a snooty barista).

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Final Verdict: This certainly isn’t a case of false advertising, as I would classify this as a “dessert beer”, and they tell you that right up front. The reason for that is the chocolate flavor, which is certainly rich, creamy and authentic, but also overwhelms the other flavors in this beer. I was surprised that the orange wasn’t more prevalent, but this beer didn’t need more flavor, it needed to let the natural stout flavors break thru that chocolate shell and help to balance it out a bit. There’s no doubt this is a well made beer, and would probably make a tasty float, as they suggest, but I don’t want to have to put ice cream in my beer for it to be at its best. That’s just my opinion, maybe you feel differently. Maybe you like to put ice cream in all your favorite beers and maybe you like to watch old episodes of American Gladiators for the witty dialogue. After all, I don’t know you.

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