Beer Review 0159: Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Here we are with another in the Yeti series from Great Divide, this time with the Chocolate Oak Aged version of this mighty Imperial Stout.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working my way through the Yeti beers (there are five; this is the fourth) — so as a refresher, here are my previous reviews:

Yeti Imperial Stout, 91 points
Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 94 points
Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 94 points

For the Chocolate Oak Aged version, the brewery has toned down the hops and have allowed the cocoa nibs used in the brew to come forth. They’ve also added a dash of cayenne pepper to add a spicy element, and I know I certainly enjoy the use of peppers in these dark Porters and Stouts. Add to it that this is aged on oak…holy! crap! Batman!

Like the other Yeti beers, this one checks in at 9.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it is formidable. The words DECADENT and LUSCIOUS adorn the bottle, as does the date of brewing, which is a double-plus thumbs up. We always like to see that!

So let’s dig in…this should be good…

Pouring gave way to an average size khaki colored head, lasting in quality and creamy in texture. The beer was like all the other Yetis — thick, dark, muddy, and black — the only difference here was less head. The lacing was excellent and had a slight orange-red color to it, possibly from the cayenne pepper? Either way, yet another good looking beer that makes you want to grab the glass and get straight to the tasting…

But first, aromatics. And yep, they did turn the hop volume down, as coffee and chocolate are big, bad, and bold on the nose, right up front. The coffee is fresh roasted and black; the chocolate is candy bar sweet. It’s all wrapped together with a hint of pine hop and just a smidgen of vanilla from the oak chips this beer gets aged on. And just like the other Yeti brews, while the aroma is nice, it is somewhat subdued and does fade a bit as it warms, believe it or not.

As for the taste…ring that bell, folks, we have a WINNER! There’s equal parts coffee and chocolate up front, sweet milk chocolate in the middle. You’d swear this was a candy bar, which leads to a finish that turns just slightly bitter before introducing the heat from the cayenne pepper, which warms the entire mouth and the throat as you swallow, making the chocolate even more delicious. And yep, that chocolate shows up again on the long finish, along with a bitter black coffee when you smack your tongue to the roof of the mouth. Mouthfeel was as expected, thick and creamy. I wrote on my review sheet “NICE.” And it is. Perfect score in this category.

This is a phenomenal beer, and I’m not mincing words here. After I did my initial review and before I typed up my full thoughts, I had to go outside and collect together what I was thinking about this beer, it was that good. The thing that really tips the scale here, at least for me, is how drinkable this beast is. You’d never know this was a big beer, and you could find yourself in trouble with this Yeti fairly quick. But this is a must try, and I’m rating it classic on my scale. FIND IT.

Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 96 points. Price: $10.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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