Shout out to a Special Double Cream Stout
A Review of Special Double Cream Stout by Bell's Brewery, Inc.
What's in a name? Sometimes nothing. Sometimes everything. It can be a very hit or miss thing. There have been plenty of times that I have gotten my hands on a beer that's name brought on expectations of one thing, and the beer itself was something completely different. I usually just chalk that up to ''unfortunate, but clever marketing''. Then there are other times where you get a beer, and the name says it all. A great example of a perfect name for a perfect beer is Bell's Special Double Cream Stout by Bell's Brewery.
I have made it no secret that Bell's is one of my favorite breweries in the craft brew world. Their product line just seems to never miss. They are actually one of the only breweries that I have no problem telling people ''If it's a Bell's beer, you can't go wrong''. Now as far as their Special Double Cream Stout goes, not only are you not going wrong, but instead you are absolutely, positively going completely right.
Now I feel as though I should take a moment to clarify some things in the name. While it isn't ''false advertising'', it can be confusing. I know that I just said the name was spot on for the beer, and now I am telling you there are a couple of things about it that need explaining. Just bear with me for a moment. Normally, when you see ''cream stout'' you can expect a sweetness from lactose being used when brewing the beer. In this case, the word ''cream'' used in the name refers to the ''creamy'' feel to the beer. There is no lactose used here. Hey! A beer for the lactose intolerant! And while you may be thinking that this is the reason that it is called ''Special'', you would only be partially correct. The other reason is because it is brewed with a blend of 10 different malts. I think that easily qualifies it as special.
Now that we've got all that out of the way, let's examine the beer itself. In the glass, it takes on the looks of a lovely, rich, and bold stout. It is pitch black coloration only allows light in around the edges, where it takes on just a bit of a dark brown hue. The aromas start spilling out of the glass almost as soon as its poured. Chocolate, cocoa and coffee smells fill the air. None are overpowering, but all are deep and full of body. They all have their own unique layers, and they do well staying out of each others way. If you go a little deeper, you can pick out a more detailed characteristic of the coffee layer. It starts to take on more of an espresso tone that actually works well with another hidden gem buried within the other layers. Vanilla. It is very faint, and only comes through occasionally, but it is a great little added bonus.
How does this beauty taste? Can I get away with just saying that it tastes amazingly, and delightfully delicious? No? That's a shame because that is a pretty spot on description. The nose didn't lie when it came to the chocolate and coffee. They can't be missed. The chocolate is more on the sweet side as opposed to bittersweet. Rich would be a good word for it actually. And just like it did in the nose, the coffee taste falls more in the espresso range. Again, very rich. Then, the malt backbone starts to take over and bring things into that smooth and ''creamy'' range. The light notes of vanilla come through here and give just a bit of extra sweetness that balances out well with a small hops bite at the very end. The overall mouthfeel is perfect for the beer. The carbonation is just enough to clean most of the sweetness up, while leaving just a bit of a sticky feel along with a nice tingle on the tongue.
So what's in a name? As far as this beer goes, everything. The Bell's Special Double Cream Stout is exactly what it claims it is. It's brewed by Bell's Brewing, and that is almost always enough on it's own. Is it ''special''? Absolutely. Is it creamy enough to be called ''double cream''? No doubt. Is it a stout? No question. So as far as this beers name is concerned, it is word for word correct. I think any person in the better beer movement can enjoy this beer. The more advanced drinkers can really enjoy it as a great example of beer perfection. If you are to the point of being able to really study and appreciate layers and characteristics, this one is a no brainer. It will keep you occupied from start to finish. And on the flipside, if you are new to the movement, this one is a great chance to simply enjoy a flavorful beer. You don't have to be able to dig deep and dissect it on a microscopic level to appreciate it. It tastes great, drinks easily, and only leaves you wanting more. To make it easy on everyone, I'll just keep it simple. If you see it, do whatever you have to do to get it in your mouth. Understood? Good. You're welcome.