Stone Brewing Co. needs no introduction as it is one of the most well-known names in the craft beer industry. So, I’ll skip those details.

Xocoveza is an 8.1 percent ABV mocha stout. It is a seasonal release that I personally look forward to each year as a nice change from the usual pumpkin spiced ales and such that pack the shelves in every beer outlet. Originally released in September 2014, it is brewed to mimic a Mexican hot chocolate with coffee, vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and pasilla peppers in the mix.

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle with a Sept. 14 bottling date and a Dec. 28 drink by date, it pours a near pitch-black color with a half inch of foamy tan head and sporadic spotty lacing randomly clinging willy nilly right above the top of the liquid.

Aroma is upfront with cinnamon and milk chocolate, followed by vanilla, coffee and a very very light pepper feel at the absolute end that warms the lips.

The taste is bold, but not overpowering and allows all of the ingredients to play well together. Coffee leads the way with cinnamon following as a close second. Next is a semi-sweet chocolate along with more dry spice, creamy marshmallow and homemade whipped cream. There is also a great earthiness present and a nice roasty feel and heat from the peppers. The balance is spectacular and all flavors jostle back and forth together creating an awesome complexity to this beer. Mouth feel is creamy and milky and the finish is surprisingly clean for an imperial stout, leaving just the right amount of vanilla  and coffee bitterness at the end.

Stone Xocoveza (2017)
BREWERY: Stone Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Richmond, Va.
STYLE: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.1 percent
IBU: 50
PRICE: $2.67
RELEASE DATE: September 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
Xocoveza is an extremely well balanced beer considering all of the bold ingredients that are present. It drinks smooth and creamy and the flavors are clean and well defined. Alcohol is well hidden and the feel has a smoothness that is unmatched in most beers of this style.
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