Magical Mystery Pour #3: Chocolate Cake

Siren Caribbean Chocolate Cake (label).

Magical Mystery Pour logo.The third of four beers recommended to us by Dina is Siren’s Caribbean Chocolate Cake stout, a collaboration with Florida’s Cigar City.

In her sleeve notes Dina says:

Oh, hi dark choco­late stout, I enjoy the way you feel. It’s like sleep­ing on black satin sheets in a for­est on a moon­lit night. In the Caribbean, I sup­pose, but I get more west­ern South Dako­ta. I am rec­om­mend­ing this one to you guys for a bit of lux­u­ry. Go on, you’re worth it.

Its ABV is 7.5% and we bought our 330ml bot­tle from Beer Gonzo for £4.25.

It looked love­ly when we poured it – clingy black with a sta­ble berg of red-brown cre­ma. Espres­so with choco­late ice cream on top. (The pic below makes it look beige; it was­n’t.)

The aro­ma was sub­dued amount­ing to no more than a whiff of roast­ing nuts.

Chocolate Cake stout in front of a Harry J LP.

It’s known that peo­ple form pos­i­tive first impres­sions of things that are like things they already like. We know and like choco­late cake. We also know and like many strong stouts. So why was our ini­tial reac­tion to tast­ing this beer to recoil?

It’s part­ly that it is out-and-out sweet, as if it’s been pepped up with a shot of cof­fee-flavour­ing syrup. It’s also part­ly the par­tic­u­lar qual­i­ty of that sweet­ness which has – bear with us – a bit­ter after­taste. It took us a minute to pin it down but we got there even­tu­al­ly: it’s like the one time in your life when, against all advice, you nib­ble an arti­fi­cial sweet­en­er tablet made from sac­cha­rin.

The sec­ond defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic is boozi­ness, like a dose of Deep Heat in the throat and nasal pas­sages. It hangs around, too, and we felt our heads fill­ing up with fumes. It was warm­ing and pleas­ant, though, rather than an ordeal – like train­ing wheels for whisky.

It is also def­i­nite­ly woody, which we detect­ed most­ly in the after­taste. Not that we eat much wood. We cer­tain­ly don’t know what cypress tastes like. We thought of (social real­ist tast­ing note) lol­ly sticks. Or sheds. The fence sec­tion in a gar­den cen­tre. This prob­a­bly isn’t help­ful, is it? ‘Woody’ will have to do.

As it warmed up and the head fell away we began to think of it less as beer and more as a vague­ly choco­latey liqueur, dense and lus­cious, in which guise one bot­tle might serve four peo­ple in tiny wee sher­ry glass­es. The sweet­ness seemed less jar­ring in this phase – maybe we’d just got used to it? – with an emerg­ing sug­ges­tion of vanil­la.

The final ver­dict: this is not real­ly to our taste but is, we think, a good beer. There’s lots going on and it’s hard­ly the fault of a prod­uct with CAKE in the name and lac­tose list­ed on the label that we’re not keen on sug­ary-sweet­ness. There are cer­tain peo­ple we know to whom we would rec­om­mend it even if we would­n’t want to share the bot­tle with them. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, give it a go.

We for­got to include Dina’s notes in last week’s post about Mad Hat­ter Tzatzi­ki Sour but have now updat­ed it.

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