Hops: Chinook, Kent Golding
Malt: Pale, Crystal, Black, Chocolate
I like my chocolate stout.... alas I dislike coffee mixed with anything else than ... well, coffee. But as I did like the last Hitachino Nest I sampled, I decided to give this one a chance when I saw it in the shop.
With 7% it is a bit over what I usually like nowadays... I am getting old and the higher alcoholic content beers end with me feeling woozy... yeah I know, I'm a wussy.
The label on small brown bottle depicts the red Hitachino Nest owl surrounded by very psychedelic brown and yellow swirls and a Hippyesque font saying ESPRESSO STOUT. The upper label shows what I guess to be the brewery and has Japanese writing on it, while the back label holds the ingredients. Sadly I had to dig up the Hops, Malts, and Yeasts used on their homepage as the bottle didn't mention them.
They say that it is brewed with real coffee beans... we will see whether that influences the aroma and/or the taste after all.
Ratebeer values this very highly.
I had the bottle in the fridge with 7 degrees, alas their page says that the drinking temperature should be around 15 degrees... which is somehow hard to reach for me as I do no have a basement and it is freezing outside... So the bottle is now out of the fridge trying to get a bit warmer.
I'll use my fancy, standard tasting glass again.
It pours easy and deep black with caramel colored head that is nice, full and persisting. Nice mix of big and small bubbles.
The aroma is indeed a mix of fine coffee scents mixed with soft, roasted caramel in a floral environment. Cola is present and soft acidic tones. It reminds me of how I imagine cold coffee mixed with cola might smell. The dark coffee scent mixes nicely with the other aspects although it evokes negative thoughts of stale, cold coffee after a while.
The carbonation is OK if a bit on the strong side. The coffee bitterness coupled with a slight acidity is pretty strong at first, mellows down to a more pleasant chocolaty bitterness in the aftertaste. The bitterness sticks to one's palate for quite a while after having a sip.
Sadly the coffee bitter tones cover most of the other aspects and I am not sure whether the bitter tones stem from the roasted beans or from the hops.
I am a bit undecided about this one. It falls into the 'this is super interesting to try once but I doubt I'll order it again' category. I never was a fan of cold coffee or coffee chocolate and this is basically both.
The Umami tone is present and makes one yearn for more, only to be put off by the bitterness.
If you do like coffee (even cold) and like your brews bitter then this is something for you!