I LOVE it when a brewer comes over all rebellious and decides “I’m going to make something with all the wrong ingredients”. You get magnificent results like Ruddles Rhubarb, Wells Banana Bread and Badger Blandford Fly. The flavours and tastes they have shouldn’t work in a beer. But they do. So I’m thrilled to have here a bottle of Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout.
This one was procured from the every surprising Bethnal Green Food Center for the sum of £1.79 pence.
The bottle is Young’s standard bottle. The dark glass does look particularly good against the purple labels in this case though. What of that detailed looking neck label?
Well the front of it is mostly marketing speak that read like a mission statement. It’s all well and good, but it doesn’t actually say anything useful. The other side of the wrap-around neck label is full of small-print.
Buried in the tiny print, we learn that this was bottled and brewed by Wells & Young’s Brewing Co Ltd in Bedford. And that their website is at www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk. Which, of course, reminds us that Young’s is part of Wells & Young’s, the UK’s largest privately owned brewery. It’s an interesting, if dense read on a better than average website.
A quick look around and we find the page dedicated to this very bottle of Double Chocolate Stout. The address is http://www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk/wellsandyoungs/beers/ales/youngs-double-chocolate and I thoroughly recommend that you give it a read because the labels on the bottle don’t do it justice. From the website, we learn that Double Chocolate Stout has won at least four Brewing Industry International Awards. That it was made with no less than pale ale and crystal malt and chocolate malt. Fuggle and Goldings hops. And real dark chocolate and chocolate essence. This is stacking up to be something special. Even if the labels on the bottle aren’t.
Back over to the front label now, and everything is where it should be.
It helpfully describes it as “Silky Rich & Creamy Smooth”. That, together with the purple colour and typeface makes it sound and look like chocolate packaging aimed at women. Which is probably what Young’s are aiming for with this Double Chocolate Stout.
Tucked away in the corners of the front label are the vital statistics. This bottle is the ubiquitous 500ml size. And the stout within weighs in at a healthy 5.2% alcoholic volume.
The back label, unfortunately, is a multi-lingual mess.
Look carefully though, and you’ll find some interesting information. They recommend that you serve Double Chocolate Stout “chilled”. And there’s the most complete list of ingredients that I’ve seen for a very long time. To quote the list, it was made with “brewing water, pale ale malt, chocolate malt, oats, sugar, hops, yeast, natural chocolate flavouring”. Not an ‘E’ number of preservative in sight.
The only other detail on the back label that isn’t on the front are the UK units of alcohol. What with this 500ml bottle containing a 5.2% alcoholic volume drink, you’ll get through 2.6 UK units of alcohol should you drink the contents of this bottle. That means that if you have two of them in a row, technically, you’ll be binge drinking.
Sadly, I only have the one bottle. And now it’s time to put that bottle of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout to the test. What does it actually taste like? Do I like it? And do I think you should go out and buy one? Let’s open the bottle and find out.
The first thing you notice about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is that it doesn’t have a head. There are a few patchy bubbles floating on the surface, but nothing like the head that sits on top of glasses of Guinness. It’s as black as you’d like, but doesn’t look impressive without that head.
At first, I couldn’t smell any chocolate. The first few sniffs only turned up that delicious roasted smell that stouts have. It took a few more sniffs to realise that in that smell is chocolate. Yes, it really does have a faint smell of chocolate. And it’s rather nice.
What does it taste like? The first gulp of this thick stout is a pleasant one. As was the second one. What Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is not, is complex. Double Chocolate Stout has a gentle, largely uncomplicated taste. It tastes a tiny bit of chocolate. But the flavour that dominates is a variant on the roasted malty taste that all stouts have. Unlike lots of other stouts, there’s no real bitter aftertaste. There’s so little bitter aftertaste, that it’s almost not there at all.
That else? Well, the drink itself is rich and creamy. Much like how they describe it on the front label in fact.
What am I enjoying about Young’s Double Chocolate Stout? The answer is quite a lot. The flavour is easy-going and tasty. The aftertaste doesn’t deliver an unpleasant sting in the tail. And those things make it one of the easiest to drink stouts on the market today. I love the rich flavour and how smooth it is. And how I can drink it without burping. This is a very good quality drink.
What am I not enjoying so much? It’s still a stout, so if you don’t like the syrupy liquid that makes you thirsty, you might not like this one. Even thought this one fixes a lot of my criticisms of what stout is. The biggest complaint I have is that the chocolate isn’t as prominent as I had hoped it would be. It’s very easy to forget that you’re drinking a chocolate-y stout in Double Chocolate Stout. I’d like to see it take bigger risks with the flavour by being as chocolate-y as the billing. The only other complaints I can think of are that it’s not easy to get hold of. There’s every chance that the shop where I bought this bottle will be selling something else the next time I visit.
Where does this leave Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout? It leaves it as one of the best stouts I’ve tried. Forget the chocolate element. Sadly, the chocolate hardly features. And that means Double Chocolate Stout won’t be one of the great flavour-hybrid beers of the world. What it does have is the easiest drinkability of any stout I’ve tried. And that’s an achievement worth drinking to.
Have you tried Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout? What did you think of it? Leave your corrections, opinions, suggestions and recommendations in the boxes below.