Revisited: Winter Beard (Cellar Aged)

Though I started buying Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout in 2009, I first reviewed in in December of 2011 after they rebranded it to Winter Beard. At that time, I thought it was a “wonderful holiday season treat and, in my opinion, is the star of the Muskoka Brewery lineup”.

Though there is a 2013 version of Winter Beard available in other provinces and at the retail store in Bracebridge, the team at Muskoka Brewery opted to give the rest of their home province a cellar aged edition of the 2012 batch.  Last winter they offered a limited number of aged 2011 bottles that were packaged in a wooden sleeve and I was able to compare an aged version to a fresh 2012 bottle. Without a doubt, I preferred the aged version and though the fresh bottle was still quite pleasant, I found it tasted a little “green”.

Winter Beard
This Wintry Treat Gets Better with Age

Pouring the 2012 version of Winter Beard (Cellar Aged) yields an opaque brew with a spongy beige head that has great retention; hanging around as a collar and film while leaving thick streaks of lace on your glass. The smell of this American imperial stout is very much chocolate-centric with a strong and juicy cranberry tone that opens things up and subtle hints of lemongrass, toasted malts and ground coffee.

Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout: Holiday Cheer

Dubbed “Winter Beard”, this flavoured imperial stout from the Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario pours an opaque black with a small light brown head that gets retained as a collar and leaves little in the way of lacing. Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout has a deep, dark chocolate aroma accented by the smell of freshly picked cranberries and grains.

Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
This Amazing Seasonal is like Liquid Cake

The taste of Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout starts with a bright, slightly sweet berry taste before bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee flavours take over and linger throughout the finish. The stout is full-bodied with just enough carbonation to give off a subtle pop and a nice creamy sensation on the tongue. The aftertaste is tart, with the cranberry flavour whetting the palate for another sip.