Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (10.0%): Technically it is a Russian Imperial Stout. That explains the high abv and promises a thick roasted barley soup... Sounds like a good fit for winter. Look: They weren't joking. Literally opaque pitch black... Nice brown head sinking pretty quick leaving a good looking lacing around the glass. Nose: As promised dark bitter chocolate aromas hit first. Heavily roasted espresso beans, sour thick grape molasses and burnt, caramelized malt follow right after. Palate: Quite thick and creamy. Like the nose suggested chocolate and dark coffee beans are all over the place but distinct malt, crunchy cocoa nibs and damp earth notes are also present. It finishes with a tart, sour taste which matches the molasses I got at the nose. Like medlar or thick balsamic vinaigrette. Odd one... Also high alcohol level adds some off notes to the palate. Overall: To be honest usually I am not a big fan of Brooklyn Brewery's wider releases but this brew is definitely a bolder and more satisfying expression. I enjoyed the low carbonation, the thick mouthfeel and the tartness but I wish we could get more than chocolate and coffee. It is a little one-dimensional. It would be so nice to get more dark and red fruits or nuttiness to freshen up a little bit. It would make it more accessible. Nevertheless it's a great beer right from Brooklyn. Would pair really good with stews and roasts.
Fuller's London Porter (5.4%): This is a legendary porter from one of Britain's most famous breweries. For a lot of people it is the definition of English porter. Look: Almost black with an elegant dark maroon glitter visible when it's hold up to the light. Faint beige head disappears into a thin film in seconds. Nose: A lot of stuff going on here. Some dark chocolate and lightly roasted coffee beans with very tempting licorice, sour cherry, red plum and molasses aromas. Nothing too aggressive though, moderate and very even-tempered. Palate: Caffe macchiato, toasted pumpernickel bread and almond chocolate. This is an awesome brew. Creamy texture with a slightly metallic finish like stainless steel container. Amazingly balanced and gentle. Overall: This is an incredibly easy drinking and well balanced porter. A true classic... I could drink this dangerous beauty day and night. One of the true winners of this winter. If you like porters or stouts it's a must have in the fridge... I don't think that I want to taste anything else tonight. I will enjoy sipping it as long as I can.