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If you follow the SBG Instagram account you probably know I'm a big fan of The Bruery, especially the big boozy barrel-aged stouts they've become pseudo-synonymous with. I had Chocolate Reign for the first time in September of 2019, and it immediately skyrocketed to the top of my favorite beers they make.
For those unaware of The Bruery's "Weekday Series," Chocolate Reign is a variant of their seasonal Chocolate Rain Imperial Stout. Chocolate Reign is double bourbon barrel-aged and has more cacao (Colombian Tumaco) and vanilla (Madagascar) than it's OG counterpart, and is then aged for a year, and re-aged for a second round.
After I bought it for the 3rd of 4th time, I decided it was worth doing a review of, so here we are.
Name: Chocolate Reign
Brewed by: The Bruery
Style: Imperial Stout
Availability: Seasonal, released around August
For how boozy this beer is, it's crazy well balanced. If you've had really high ABV beers before, you're probably familiar with that heat twinge you feel when you take that first sip. However, I've found there's a stark contrast between "a little boozy heat" and "a burning sensation." This is the former - you absolutely get the idea you're drinking something with a kick, but it's not overwhelming, and more importantly you get a plethora of spectacular flavors coming through. It's a beer that can definitely be aged, but unlike some other high ABV BA stouts, you don't need to age it, which is why I love it so much.
This one pours a deep brown, almost black, with a brownish tan head that starts a bit dense but starts to fade pretty quickly (common for a beer clocking in at over 20%).
You absolutely get some nice bourbon notes in the nose and you can tell right away it has an aggressive alcohol content. You get some chocolate notes as well as a subtle red wine-like characteristic.
This beer has an amazing complexity to it. You have the richness from the bourbon barrels mixing well with chocolate and a hint of vanilla. There's an almost fruitiness quality to it thats plays well with the warmness of the alcohol content. As the temperature of the beer warms, the flavors start to pop even more.
This has a medium-to-heavy body that doesn't feel so intense given the surprising level of carbonation to it. It's a nice balance.
As far as I know, the only way to get this beer is by being in the Bruery's Hoarders or Reserve society. Outside of that, trading is your best bet.
This beer is boozy, pricey, hard to find, and absolutely worth seeking out if you're a fan stouts. It's not a one-dimensional booze bomb - the complexity is there from day one and I'm confident will only get better with age. I've bought this beer multiple times despite the price tag, and I'll keep buying it.
I am not paid by anyone to review beers, and I don’t accept free beer from breweries to review.
I want to hear from you. Are there beers you want me to try? Local or not, I’d love to hear it so let me know!