Review: Muskoka Winter Beard 2011 - Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout

Review: Muskoka Winter Beard 2011 - Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout by Cody La Bière
Last year I first tried Muskoka Brewery's Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout as part of my 52 week beer project. I found it to be one of the ost delicious stouts I ever had. When Muskoka's reps told me that it was returning to Manitoba, I was giddy.

You see, Muskoka's Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, which is now named the Winter Beard, has quickly became a winter tradition for me. To me, it tasted like a Christmas dessert in a bottle.. it was that good! So here I am, excited to try it again!

Appearance: Comes in a 750mL bottle with a swing top. The label this year has a guy sporting a huuuuuge beard and a Muskoka toque, he kind of reminds me of my landlord this time of year. Pours a rich black creamy (or dark chocolate) in appearance, caramel colour foam (very minimal).

Aroma: Roasted coffee beans. If you like coffee inspired porters or stouts, I know you will enjoy this beer. I'm not really noticing the cranberry in the aroma yet. There may be a ever-so-slightly cranberry scent in there.. but I can barely notice it. The roasted coffee maltiness is nice. There's also a bit of a dark chocolate in there. This is going to get good!

Taste: Quite creamy on the tongue. It's effing delicious! The Winter Beard has that roasted coffee taste that you expect.. and love! Maybe I've been eating too much chocolate over the holidays but there's a very noticeable dark chocolate sweetness in the stout. I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, but it really works in this stout. There's only a slight amount of cranberry in this stout.. which is a-o-k with me because I find fruit + chocolate to be disgusting (picky eater here) nor does it make the beer tart.

Overall Thoughts: can somewhat smell my breath and it smells like Tim Horton's Café Mocha, not a surprise as there's a decent amount of roasted coffee and dark chocolate in this delicious stout. It costs $10 for the 750mL bottle. That's quite a price tag for a stout, but read me out.. this IS one of the best stouts on the market in Canada today. It is one of the few beers worth the price tag. This is a Christmas dessert sort of beer, or good for accompagnying the mountains of Christmas treats we all get from family and friends. Another thing to note is that the stout has an ABV of 8%, so you WILL get a bit of warmth from it. Damn good stout.

Check out my 2010 Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout review

From the description: "What could be more reminiscent of a frigid Northern winter than an insulating beard and a warming Muskoka seasaonal brew? Our Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is rich and sturdy with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. Pair that with the slightly higher alcohol content and then you'll find yourself sharing this bottle of joy all winter long. Beard not included"

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