Monday, February 23, 2015

Beer Review: Malevolence Chocolate Caliente

Reviewing the Malevolence Chocolate Caliente, a Russian imperial stout brewed with vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, Urfa biber chili flakes, and dried Aleppo pepper from Spiteful Brewing out of Chicago, Illinois.

Score: 94

January 2015 bottling. Served in a Hunahpu's snifter and enjoyed on 02/22/15 during the Oscars telecast.

Appearance: First things first: open this beer over the sink. We cracked the cap on a side-stored (but otherwise still) bottle, and this beer began gushing instantaneously. Within 15 seconds, 50% of the bottle was all over the table. Once some of the beer made its way into the glass, it poured a dark chocolate color with nice outer-edge fade and ample foamy khaki head that settles to a thin bubbly ring around the glass. Minimal lacing or retention, but nice browning effect/residuals from swirling. 3.5/5

Smell: The aroma on this beer was quite potent and pleasant (possibly because the kitchen was covered in it). Heavy-handed cinnamon, shortbread cookies, chocolate, and hints of mint and vanilla. Some chili pepper too. Reminds me a lot of Abraxas. 4.5/5

Taste: Lovely mix of cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, sugar cookies with a hint of chocolate too. Nice light but present pepper kick and flavor on the back half. Tastes a lot like the love child of Abraxas and the 2011 vintage of Hunahpu's. Lingering spice and spiciness. Cocoa-mole on the finish too. Quite excellent! Was expecting this to be sour, infected, or off in some way given that it gushed upon opening, so the quality of the flavor was a welcome relief. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly under-carbonated -- which is shocking, given how forcefully this beer gushed upon opening. Nice pepper heat that is present, but not too prominent or overpowering -- kind of like how Space Ghost is but with a little less heat. Lovely spice mix that is balanced despite brown sugar/cinnamon sweetness. 3.5/5

Overall: An excellent beer and real winner from Spiteful, who is making some interesting stuff as a newer Chicago brewery. I've been told this is already being barrel aged, and am interested to see the outcome of that project. I am not sure why this beer explosively gushed upon opening, but friends have since informed me that they have had similar experiences. Open this one over the sink with glasses on the ready, and enjoy. Prost!

Cost: $12.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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