Brew Review – DuClaw Brewing’s H.E.R.O. Chocolate Chipotle Stout

DuClaw Brewing’s H.E.R.O. 2012 Chocolate Chipotle Stout

This time last year I reviewed DuClaw’s Brewing Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter which was brewed as part of their H.E.R.O. (Honest.Excellent.Robust.Original) homebrew contest.  Last year’s beer came from the winning recipe of Tony Huckestein and Doug DeLeo with all the proceeds going to the  Cool Kids Campaign to aid the creation of their Learning Center for children battling cancer.

This year, Vincent and Suzanne Powers brewed the winning beer, chosen from over 50 entries, a chocolate chipotle stout.  Once the winners were announced, DuClaw then opened up their email for recommendations as to where the proceeds from this year’s H.E.R.O. beer should go.  After what I’m sure were many worthy recommendations, it was decided by DuClaw that every penny of this year’s H.E.R.O. brew will go to the Alysha Miller Harris Baby Fund.  For those who don’t know, Ben Harris was a very well liked employee at the Redhook Brewery in New Hampshire.  Tragically, Ben was killed when a keg he was cleaning exploded, leaving his wife Alysha, and their (then) unborn baby as his survivors.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from this year’s H.E.R.O. will go to a fund for their support.

THEM:  The grain bill for this year’s H.E.R.O. consists of Pale Malt, Chocolate Malt, Crystal Malt, Black Malt, and Roasted Barley.  The only hop variety used is the New Zealand Pacific Jade.  The beer starts at 18.5 Plato and finishes at 7.5% ABV, and is balanced with 85 IBUs.

ME:  CCS pours jet black with a nice tan head.  The nose is rich with chocolate and roasted malt, but carries no hint of the spice to come.  On just the first sip chocolate, malt and a touch of smoke rush up in the front and give way to a full bodied creaminess in the middle.  And then, the bite from the chipotle’s catches you in the back and takes full attention.  The heat is sharp, and stays to the back of the mouth so it doesn’t set your whole mouth on fire like that plate of “Nuclear Inferno Wings” you get from your local happy hour stop.  That being said, if you have an aversion to all things hot, this probably isn’t going to be your glass of beer.  Once your palette gets used to it however, the heat calms down to a nice warmth in the back of your mouth and the beer leaves a slightly sticky chocolate after taste.

I really liked this beer.  The chipotle gives a nice balanced heat to the beer, and the depth of chocolate throughout is awesome.  In fact, I’d love to try this without the peppers because I think this would be an awesome chocolate stout on its own.

If this sounds like something you’d like, give it a try.   Remember, it’s for a worthy cause.  If a little heat in your beer isn’t for you, you can still donate to the fund:

The Alysha Miller Harris Baby Fund
c/o TD Bank
20 Portsmouth International Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Time for another beer.

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