Stone's Xocoveza Varieties & the Diverse Flavor Profiles They Offer
It is that time of year again, when Stone's "winter-spiced mocha stout" hits the brew shop shelves, and we all buy it up and hoard it best we can until the next winter arrives. The office decided that the best way to celebrate the arrival of Xocoveza was to taste test its many adaptations – whether barrel-aged, sour, or barrel-aged sour. Stone claims that the Xocoveza base beer is "the recipe of 2014 Stone Homebrew Competition winner Chris Banker, an intensely flavorful milk stout brewed with coffee and spices to mimic the rich flavors of Mexican hot chocolate." That sounds about right, though when I sipped the base beer, I thought more Chai Latte. Either way, this beer is well-spiced and truly unique for a stout, which of course leads some to claim that it almost doesn't taste like a beer. P.S. If you are one of the naysayers who doubts you'd be game for either sour Locoveza variation, please be aware that it's not so much sour as red-wine-esque. Even our sour-haters in the office gave it the okay. P.P.S. If you're craving some barrel-aged greatness in your own LBK, we'd suggest adapting our Lock Stock and Barrel Stout!
Appearance This mocha stout pours a cloudy/hazy black color, with a creamy, diminishing head. Aroma Smells like sweet, chocolatey, nutty, roasty malts; spicy, earthy hops; and clean yeast. Flavor We tasted sweet, chocolate, roasty, smoky, dark stonefruit malts; herbal, spicy hops; and clean yeast. Mouthfeel Full body, moderate carbonation, long finish, and creamy. Overall Tasting Notes"Tastes good, but it doesn't taste like beer. It's like how a caramel frappucino tastes more like a milkshake than a cup of coffee," "rich dessert beer, but very rich - nice," and "tastes like chai."
Appearance Stone's barrel-aged milk stout pours a cloudy, black color, with a diminishing head. Aroma The malts here smell sweet, chocolatey, and roasty, while the hops smell herbal, earthy, and spicy. Flavor At first sip we taste sweet, chocolate, roasty malts; spicy hops; clean yeast; and warmth from the alcohol. Mouthfeel Just as with the standard Xocoveza recipe - full body, moderate carbonation, long finish, and creamy. Overall Tasting Notes"More of a beer than the other one - great tasting," "very smooth, better than the original," "best ever," and "smooth and delicious."
Appearance This soured take on the Xocoveza has a black, cloudy color, and diminishing head. Aroma This brew smells of sweet, roasty, caramel, chocolate, nutty malts; spicy, earthy hops; and slightly sour yeast. Flavor Tastes like sweet, dark stonefruit, roasty, chocolate malt; spicy, herbal hops; and sour yeast. Mouthfeel Medium-to-full body, moderate carbonation, long finish, and creamy. Overall Tasting Notes"Sour, but not too sour. Subtle oak and agave finish. Wine-like and rich," "yuck," and "tastes like red wine, yummy."
Appearance This glass poured a black/root beer color, with a diminishing head. Aroma Smells like sweet, chocolate, roasty, smoky, malts; earthy, spicy hops; and sour yeast. Flavor Sweet, chocolate, roasty malts; herbal, spicy, resinous hops; sour yeast; and booziness from the higher ABV. Mouthfeel Full body, moderate carbonation, long finish, and creamy. Overall Tasting Notes "The best one yet. Oaky, slightly sour, easy to drink. Very robust but smooth," "second favorite," and "creamy, delicious."