Mikael Dugge Engstrom started Dugges Bryggeri in 2005 and gained steam with haste; expanding from 1500hl annually at a small brewery in Molndal to 7000hl in Landvetter in 2009. Since then, Dugges has begun looking at doubling this capacity due to increasing consumer demand. It would seem the Swedes love their beer.

Given the appearance of growth and busyness, one would think that Dugges Bryggeri would not have time to allow “gypsy” brewers to gallivant about and concocting confectionery approved brews. But, alas, this is not true. Today’s beer that is up for scrutiny is a “collaboration” of sorts between Dugges and the aforementioned “gypsy” brewer, Stillwater Artisanal Ales. Cocoa Cacao is an Imperial chocolate stout brewed with cacao, coconut and vanilla and weighs in at a whopping 11.5 percent ABV.

The pour starts with a gelatinous slug slipping out of the top of the bottle and slapping the bottom of the glass. I’ve seen this before with beers that have coconut and cocoa in them. A congealing of proteins and oils/fats from the adjunct additions leads to what looks like a semi-translucent oyster floating in your beer. It’s harmless, but alarming nonetheless. The body comes out thick as syrup with a cloudy dark brown body complete with the occasional chunk. Zero head to speak of; the visible oil slick on top evidence as to why. However, carbonation bubbles can be observed rising along the side of the glass. The aroma is really quite nice with a massive amount of vanilla, coconut, sweet chocolate, and caramel. Just the slightest hint of the 11.5 percent booze reminds of the fact that this is supposed to be a beer.

The taste begins innocently enough with a quick hit of coconut but descends rapidly into the territory of a cheap boozy chocolate liquor. Dark chocolate bitterness creeps up in the finish and clashes hard against the overall sweet aim of the brew. The feel of the beer is flat and waxy kind of like if someone stirred Chapstick into the beer. I have to guess that it is just gobs of coconut oil and cocoa fat coating my mouth making this beer oddly thick; in a bad way.

Dugges / Stillwater Cocoa Cacao
BREWERY: Dugges Bryggeri AB
LOCATION: Landvetter, Sweden
STYLE: Stout
ABV: 11.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: n/a
AVAILABLE IN: 375ml bottles
Collaboration beers are great when everything goes right and the glory is shared in the commingling of minds that created something spectacular. But, who takes the blame when things go south? Cocoa Cacao misses the mark in many ways although some potential is there lurking beneath the globs and chunks. It certainly smells good but doesn’t taste like a beer, feel like a beer, or quack like a beer.
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