Monday, August 15, 2011
Brewer: Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood, New York
Alcohol Content: 11.2%
Official Description from Brewer:
"When empirical and creative impulses collide, the result is often timeless. The classic utility-art aesthetic of the coffee maker is an example of design and engineering working in concert.
It is through similar cooperation that the simple bitter cocoa bean is transformed into a sweet treat. As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with – or as – your favorite dessert!"
I was sitting at Beer Geeks one night with my good friend Brett and I noticed Southern Tier's Mokah on the menu and decided that would be my last beer of a great evening. Alas, Beer Geeks was out and I immediately made it a point to ask my brother to pick up a bomber during his annual trek to Lake Chautauqua. After our trifecta on Father's Day and the Porter he handed me for free I figure I could ride the free beer train as far as he's willing to let me.
There are two things that I did for the first time while drinking this brew. Presently, a half full glass of Mokah still sits in front of me as I type this. Southern Tier recommends serving Mokah at 48 degrees in a snifter. I have no snifters in the house so I'm letting the brew ascend to ambient temperature in my trusty pint glass. There really is no difference in the taste. I'll mention the second experience later.
Mokah pours beautifully. There is a great caramel color tone to the liquid as it escapes the bottle. You can easily confuse Mokah for either cola, black coffee, or motor oil, all of which make a stout appetizing. The aroma of Mokah is a perfect blend of the malts and gems used to make this brew, chocolate and coffee. You could not escape the scent and the potency truly makes it a dessert beer.
When you bring the glass to your lips, the cold (yes, I drank it cold) beer shocks your system because the chocolate and coffee you were anticipating are lost to the bitterness of the four hops employed in the brewing process. Ok, not entirely lost but you know that it is beer and not mocha. Something beautiful occurs in the process however. As you lose beer to your stomach you gain an even stronger smell resting inside your favorite beer drinking vessel. If you've ever had the pleasure of smelling a chocolate factory (or if you live in Chicago catch the whiff of ever present chocolate in the air) you get that sensation over and over and over every time you take another drink.
Suggestion: Good stout, great beer, dessert watch out! Mokah is a mid-spring seasonal with an April release. I'm sure it comes and goes quickly, with the exception of the bomber my brother grabbed. Even if you don't like dark beers, grab Mokah at 10pm, turn on the news, and melt away into dream land (or Left Hand's Milk Stout, either one a winner).
Value: FREE!! Ok, I'll ask my brother how much he paid, but if it is like other Southern Tier bombers I've found at Wise Guy's or Nick's I'm going to guess around $8, maybe $9 because it is seasonal. At 11.2% and a great dessert beer, well worth it.
Michelle Factor: "I want to take a huge bite!" Michelle really loved the chocolate aroma and after taking a couple of pulls announced that she would definitely drink this beer. Her only complaint was the bitterness. Can't win 'em all.
I actually grabbed a dark chocolate truffle to see how well it paired with the beer. I thought that either the truffle would enhance the beer or the beer would enhance the truffle. I should have listened to Alton Brown (Food Network food guru). Taste buds have limited use and cannot handle sensory overload. The reason some sweet foods taste better with salt is because the contrast enhances the sweet receptors of the tongue. When I took a bite of the truffle, my sweet receptors were at capacity so that when I took a drink of Mokah all I could taste was the bitterness of the hops. The truffle certainly enhanced the flavor of the beer but in the wrong direction. Needless to say, I doubt I'll bring food back to a beer critique.