Brewsday: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Look, if it isn’t obvious by now that I’m a sucker for novelty beer, then I don’t know what to tell you.  I am that guy at the local pub who is preternaturally sensitive to the changes of what’s on tap; I am the annoying one who will make the server recite everything available, just in case there isn’t something new I could try.  I drink the organics, I order the brews made from hemp, and I crave the beers that I think nobody else might know about outside of my neighborhood.

I am fooling myself, I know.  But it makes me happy, and I feel like it sets me apart from the people who joylessly gargle Carlsberg and decide that’s a good enough life for them.  I need more!  More, I say!  Beers themed after large gourds or unions!  Beers that look like they took a little imagination!  Beers, for example, that purport to taste not only like chocolate… but like double chocolate.

Available in a 12 ounce can or a half-litre bottle (I’m mixing my measuring systems and I don’t care!), Young’s Luxury Double-Chocolate Stout makes its all of its promises right up front:  “Silky rich & creamy smooth.”  Made with pale ale, crystal and chocolate malts, it makes a valiant effort, but only ends up making it halfway to the line.

I should mention that Young’s is fairly good at seasonal, novelty beers.  I expect that if I lived in the UK, I’d fit right into their demographic — among their other offerings are items like Ram Rod, Waggle Dance and most intriguingly, Christmas Pudding.  The Double-Chocolate is conspicuously absent, now that I look, from their website, which makes me wonder whether other angles were more interesting and marketable than this one turned out to be.

Which is a shame, really, because Double-Chocolate Stout is a perfectly enjoyable beer.  It pours a beautifully dark color, produces a stiff and foamy head that adds real flavor to the first sip, and offers a reasonably full flavor throughout.  It’s as if someone took Guinness aside and said, “Listen, we respect the in-your-face-stout thing, but honestly, do you really have to be so heavy all the time?  Sometimes people just want to have a little fun, you know?”  Double-Chocolate slots right in there, giving you a stout that you can enjoy without feeling like you’re making some kind of an investment.

Ironically, that’s also where the beer falls short:  while it’s smooth & silky, I’ve been having a hard time finding any of the rich & creamy.  When I hear the word “chocolate” relating to a beverage, I brace myself for a combination of sweet and earthy bitterness (kind of like me through my 20s ha ha ha ha ha ha okay let’s move on); when I hear the words “double chocolate”, I strap myself in for flavor.  But after having this light, pleasant, slightly sweet stout, I am left wondering what I strapped myself in for.  I loosen my straps, so to speak, and slouch in my seat, relaxed when I should have been challenged.

In the end, that makes Young’s Double Chocolate Stout a mixed success at best — it falls well short of its promised as a balls-out DOUBLE-FLAVORED stout, but it succeeds as a pleasant dark beer on the mild end of the spectrum.  Those who buy it expecting a flavorful thrill-ride will end up disappointed; those who would be best served by it, unfortunately, are likely the ones who’d end up avoiding it in the first place.

How bittersweet.

Rating:  3 chocolate bars out of 5

  • Tina

    I was a bit disappointed with this one, and I really love stouts. You’re right that the head is thin and frothy, and I don’t expect that from a stout. I didn’t find it silky rich or creamy smooth, but it was pleasantly bitter and had a complex dark coffee flavor. The thing is, I thought that at least some chocolately goodness would come through and…..I didn’t get that. At all.

    Even so, it was a compelling stout that I would buy again…I guess I just think that the marketers LIED!

  • noble pig

    Wow, that’s interesting. I usually only cook with stouts, I wonder how this one would rate in my stout cakes.

  • Tina

    Oooh…a stout cake sounds waaaaay better than a short cake!

  • Rupert

    I tried Young’s Double Chocolate Stout at a Pub somewhere. My favorite beers tend to be stouts. Guinness is one of my favorites. So at this pub I decided to try something new, so the bartendeder reccommended this. It was in the big can, and he poured it into a gobblet. I was pleasantly surprised, actually. I didn’t really read the can, so I wasn’t expecting anything more than stout and chocolate. On the first taste I thought it tasted much like a Guinness… then there was a faint but pleasnt aftertaste of chocolate in there. But it wasn’t like I was drinking chocolate milk, and I liked the fact that it wasn’t really sweet to a significant degree. It was a nice change.

    A few months later I tried to find it at a local liquor store, but the only chocolate beer they had was a limited release Sam Adams Chocolate Bock. So I bought that. It was okay…. but it didn’t even leave a chocolate taste… I could just barely smell it on my breath. But the bottle was quite nifty.