Sunday Molé Stout
“When better than a Sunday to review Sunday Molé Stout?” this review was going to begin, when I wrote it on a Sunday. But I can’t begin that way, because I’m writing this on a Tuesday. Why? Because I wrote the first half of a different review, then grabbed the wrong bottle from the fridge. Oh well, I can always feel better about my mistakes by consoling myself with a nice beer. So this beer better be nice, since I’m consoling myself with it. And hey, an Imperial Stout flavored with all the spicy goodness of Mexican chocolate? Sounds good to me.
The Brewer’s Pitch
First of all, Weyerbacher sneaks in a mention of this beer’s powerful punch–it’s a whopping 11.3% ABV. It’s actually based on another Weyerbacher beer, Sunday Morning Stout, but they dropped that beer’s barrel aging and added the spicy elements of traditional Mexican molé. The four elements they evoke are coffee, chocolate, heat, and smoke. Coffee hits up front like many stouts, but is followed up by a triple thread of chocolate malt, cocoa powder, and cacao nibs to bring a true depth of chocolate smoothness to the mix. Heat and smoke are lovingly blasted into your face-hole with a pepper blend of ancho, pasilla, mulato, and chipotle. Some cinnamon is the final bow on the package.
Sunday Molé is deep opaque brown, and even a very hard pour only produced the thinnest, briefest of rich brown head. The nose is cinnamon and wood smoke layered over a dull coffee base. Subtle coffee notes tip the tongue up front but are quickly overcome by bitter chocolate. It’s somewhere between baking chocolate and pure raw cacao nibs, dry and aggressive. The pepper taste isn’t all that strong, emerging from the aftermath of the cocoa punch as a faint tang alongside lingering chocolate sweetness. As the beer warms the cacao begins to subside and a sticky, spicy character develops. The chocolate sweetens and the peppers begin to assert themselves. The cinnamon really shows itself here too, and the entire palate is bathed in a lingering haze of warm spice.
This one punished me for impatience. When it’s cold, the bitterness of the cacao blasts away all subtlety and sweetness. When it’s COOL, though, just below room temperature, it’s a fireball wrapped in a velvet glove. The chocolate stays on the dark side but picks up a sticky sweetness that actually reminds me vaguely of molasses. The cinnamon–and that’s the REAL taste of cinnamon, not the counterfeit candy flavor–brings a burst of spice to each sip that quickly fades, while the peppers lay a deep slow burn across the surface of the tongue that warms up with every breath. It’s not painful, but BOY do you realize it. I can even feel it as a ball of warmth deep in my belly. Between that and the smoke it feels like a smoldering ball of heat. This is one tasty brew, very well suited for a chilly evening like this one. One word of warning, it leaves a bit of a burnt bitter aftertaste, so it’s definitely not a session beer.
The Bottom Line
I’ll admit, this wasn’t what I thought I was buying. The accent over the e is sort of hidden on the label, and I thought I was buying a beer made of moles. This works too though, I guess.
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