Review Date 6/8/2014
Everybody likes chocolates for Valentine’s Day, right? So why not a beer that tastes like them? The Harpoon Brewery of Boston, Massachusetts brewed up a batch of just that with their new 2014 release Harpoon Black Forest Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter. This is a beer that was allegedly concocted at Harpoon’s annual homebrew competition, and was so good they released it commercially.
I saw this beer at Bullock’s Liquors in Woodstock, Georgia a month or so after Valentines had already passed as I recall, but it was a slam dunk into my cart at the very moment I saw it. What I didn’t do was look at the fine print on the label and missed the “Imperial” qualifier, so when I popped it I wasn’t at all prepared for as big a beer as this really is.
From the label:
A hearty malt base is complemented by sweet cherry juice and cocoa nibs added during fermentation in this decadent take on a traditional porter. Notes of rich chocolate and a hint of cherry sweetness make this full-bodied porter the perfect treat to share now or the cellar until next Valentine’s Day.
Harpoon Black Forest Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter is, as I said, a strong brew indeed at 9.8% alcohol by volume. There is no freshness dating on the label except the year “2014”. I paid a reasonable $5.99 for a 22-ounce bomber bottle; Harpoon specialty beers remain one of the best values out there these days. If you’re into baking, Harpoon has a brownie recipe that includes this beer as an ingredient here.
Harpoon Black Forest Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter pours to a dark brownish black color with a medium head formation and a soft cherry cordial nose, more like before you bite into one than after. Taking a sip, the beer has a fairly smooth body as it slides over the tongue, though it doesn’t seem as big a beer as it is. This is a porter, if an imperial porter, and to that degree it’s about as roasty as I would expect a brown porter to be.
It’s creamy, too, like that white stuff in the center of a cherry cordial, and the chocolate is definitely here too, dark and deep and delicious like baker’s cocoa. I do want more of it, though, and umm where’s the cherry in the palate? I get a little of it up front, but wait a minute! There it is as the beer progresses into the finish, and it’s all sorted out at the end with some more cherry flavor (it’s there in the burps!!) and chocolate and alcohol warmth. Not the best such beer I’ve ever had, but still a very good one, and at $5.99 a good bargain.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.