Recently I noticed a pal of mine(https://originallevity.ca/) had a similar bottle of beer to myself in a picture of his beer cellar, online. He was asking if anyone else had any of the same beer in the comments and I saw a bottle of Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout hiding in the image. I happen to also have that bottle though we aren’t sure if our vintages are similar I suspect mine is from 2015 or 2016. The only marking I could find on the bottle said best before 2017, surely has been a few sleeps since then.
Now as someone who has quite and extensive cellar of all sorts of different beer I can honestly say that when it comes to fresh beer, even higher ABV, the results of ageing are often disappointing especially around or after the five year mark. Now this beer isn’t particularly high ABV, clocking in around 8%, but also contains cranberry juice, cranberries, cocoa nibs and chocolate making the potential for something to have gone wrong much higher. Let’s get into it!
Cork and cage bottle that had almost no pop once opened, not a great sign so far. With an aggressive pour almost no head forms and no head stays for long, beer appears to be nearly completely still.
Nose reveals an oxidized aroma with a hint of dark malt and umami possibly tart berries of some variety but without reading the label I’m not sure I would pick that out.
Tasting leads to the fact that, indeed, this poor beer is completely flat beyond that it is heavily oxidized and and has a distinct dusty flavour that I’m not too keen on. The addition of juice to the beer has left the mouthfeel very thin and does not improve the flavour at this point at all. A hint of medicinal cherry like notes leaves me not too excited for another sip. There may be some chocolate left, but only a hint, and a slight umami note masks the finish.
Unfortunately time has not been kind to this beer but this is not an unusual happening especially with a fresh beer this old. I have never tried this beer fresh so I have no reference to it’s potential but it has been nearly destroyed by aging, given the benefit of the doubt. The bottle said to consume before Feb 03, 2017 I suspect that is sage advice, another sinker for the log.