Today we have two local orange-flavored chocolate beers – the annual SanktGallen Orange Chocolate Stout and the new Ise Kadoya Chocolate Porter.
SanktGallen Orange Chocolate Stout (サンクトガーレン・オレンジチョコレートスタウト)
Package: 330mL bottle
Misc: IBU – 24; OG – 1.068; hops – EK Goldings, Cascade, Willamette, Nugget
Pour – Very foamy, creamy, very dark brown/amber
Aroma – Vanilla, tangerine, chocolate
Flavor – Very fizzy, seltzer soapiness to it, then some orange tootsie roll, slightly bitter soapy finish
This is the second (out of three) Valentines’s Day chocolate beer from SanktGallen that we’re reviewing here – the first review of the Strawberry Chocolate Stout is here. While the Strawberry Chocolate Stout is the annual one-off that we probably won’t see again, the Orange Chocolate Stout is something they make every year.
The product page for the Orange Chocolate Stout has some more detail on the brewing process and ingredients. The orange they use here is the daidai (橙) orange, which is normally too bitter to eat but used to make jam and herbal medicine, among other uses (like beer – Hitachino Nest also has a Daidai Ale IPA). In the making of this beer, SanktGallen slices up the orange, peel and all, and then boils it down into, well, basically jam. This reduced daidai jam is then added to the beer, and this process is essentially very similar to the process they use for the Strawberry Chocolate Stout.
So what’s the final verdict? Like I felt with the strawberry version, for me the orange doesn’t have a huge positive impact. There isn’t that much orange there to begin with, but what little there is has that kind of unpleasant tootsie roll feel to it. The most prominent aspect of it was a soapy seltzer water quality to it, and although there was a bit of bitterness and chocolate on the finish it wasn’t enough to rescue it from the soap.
I’ve never been a big fan of this beer, and I wonder why they don’t replace this one with something better. Last year’s Smoked Chocolate Stout was pretty good, and I would much rather see that one become a regular Valentine’s Day beer instead of this one. Anyway, let’s see what the Ise Kadoya Chocolate Porter has to offer.
Ise Kadoya Chocolate Porter (伊勢角屋・チョコレートポーター)
Package: 330mL bottle
Misc: IBU – 35
Pour -Very flat, very dark chocolate brown
Aroma – Curry powder, spices, some roast
Flavor – Definite curry and Thai food finish, spicy, some chocolate and roast, fizzy
Ise Kadoya have been releasing a lot of new beers recently, and this is one of their latest. According to the product page for the Chocolate Porter, they were aiming to express the idea of “mariage” (yes, the French version) in a beer, and somehow concluded that a chocolate porter was the best way to do that. Of course, that in itself wouldn’t really embody mariage, so they added the spice cardamom, which I had not heard of but apparently is used quite commonly in Indian and Thai curry, chai, and a host of other cuisines/foods. Fun Wikipedia fact – it is the third-most expensive spice in the world by weight, trailing only vanilla and saffron. Fortunately it’s a very strong spice, so Ise Kadoya most likely did not have to break the bank to brew this beer.
Since today’s theme is orange chocolate beers, I should also mention that orange peel has also been added to this brew (and here I will mention that they use cocoa powder as well, although that is not today’s theme). Let’s see how it all comes together.
The Ise Kadoya Chocolate Porter definitely plays up the spiciness, and it’s an interesting sensation to taste curry along with your beer. There’s a bit of roast and chocolate, but the orange peel is nowhere to be found. This beer is, really, about the cardamom, which makes itself known very clearly in both the aroma and the flavor. That said, the chocolate does do just enough to prevent the spice from totally overwhelming the beer, and it’s surprisingly drinkable. I don’t know if I’d have more than one, though.
So it’s a commendable effort from Ise Kadoya, if not a raging success. Normally I’m not that impressed with their brews, so I’d put this one down in the win column for them. The SanktGallen Orange Chocolate Stout, however, isn’t a beer I enjoyed too much, and I wouldn’t shed many tears for it if they replaced it with something else in their annual Valentine’s Day package.
Minor purchasing notes – around this time of year both of these beers can be found pretty easily at either Tanakaya or Liquors Hasegawa at reasonable prices. The SanktGallen Valentine’s beers get fairly wide distribution and you’ll see them at Aeon Liquor Stores as well, and last year I saw them pop up even at my local Daiei. I personally don’t like the fruit chocolate stouts too much, but the Imperial Chocolate Stout, which we’ll get to soon, is a winner, so pick it up if you can.