Dogfish Head – Chicory Stout

Stout month continues to roll along here, and I kind of got my second wind on it.  Last week I had grown somewhat tired of drinking so many stouts.  Honestly, I only really have one or two a week at this point anyway.  I’ll definitely have some 750 ml bottles left over at the end of this month, but I had pretty much run out of new 12oz bottles to review.  Therefore, this week when I stopped by Rick’s for my weekly pick up, I knew I had to see if I could find a couple 12oz bottles to get me to the end of the month.  I figured a month where I focus all my energy on a particular style of beer could only be helped by adding in something out of the most frustrating brewery of all time: Dogfish Head.  There were two stouts to choose from Dogfish.  Did I want to spend $10 on the World Wide Stout, or would I go the cheap route with the Chicory Stout.  I really wanted to get the World Wide one, but I couldn’t talk myself into spending that much money for a 12oz.  Therefore here we are with the Chicory Stout.  I guarantee my taste buds would have been more pleased if I had gone the other route.

Chicory stout is a seasonal brew that gets released between November and December every year.  The major ingredients associated with this brew are roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, and licorice root.  I really am not very familiar with chicory, but it seems to be a plant that has some kind of association with coffee.  One site that I read said that when it is dried and ground it makes an excellent substitute for coffee.  I think this helps to explain why I couldn’t really find a lot of it in the beer when I was reviewing it, but I honestly think I’ll stick to the real coffee anyway.

I really thought I was going to love this beer.  I don’t always trust a lot of things that Dogfish Head does, but I do enjoy stouts.  I really didn’t think this one would be a miss for me, but I guess I was wrong.

It started off the right way on the pour.  It poured out a really dark black oil like color.  For me, this is always a great sign when it comes to stouts.  I guess most stouts are pretty dark anyway, but I swear it seemed like this one had kind of thick quality to it.  It developed a fairly moderate head that disappeared rather quickly.  Swirling the beer provided some very light lacing and a little sticky residue as well.  The beer is definitely still too dark to be capable of figuring out the clarity, and you can’t see any visible carbonation either.

The smell is dominated by a lot of strong roasted coffee smells.  They have a rather woody earthy quality to them.  It is fairly nice smelling.  Like I said earlier, I’m not familiar with chicory enough to know if I’m smelling it at all, but if it smells like coffee, I’m sure I pulled chicory out.  Some of the more mild scents are light chocolate and sweet malts.  I’m fairly certain I’m getting a little hint of hops in here as well.  The last smell i get is a little light licorice as well.  I wasn’t sure I was getting the licorice, but looking the beer up revealed that it is in the brewing process.

I was a little put off by the taste because it just feels a little weak and one-dimensional.  There is a really long sweet malt introduction.  It has some light chocolate mixed in there with it, but the malty intro lasts for a very long period of time.  You finally get a quick hit of coffee and licorice.  This helps to introduce the moderate roasted flavors.  I think the smell of the roasts were stronger than the actual taste of them.  Perhaps chicory is a little weak?  The end of the beer relies heavily on the roasts; however, it seems to kind of fizzle out at the end.  I wanted some lingering flavors, but they come to an abrupt halt.

The mouthfeel is also slightly uninteresting.  It has some ample carbonation that leads to some very light syrup as the carbonation mellows.  This part is fine, but it just doesn’t seem to have enough body and complexity to it.  The roasts and coffee flavors are good, but they do seem to be the one trick pony of this beer.  The abrupt ending is really frustrating.  I would have liked the flavors to last a little longer for sure.

I have a big love hate relationship with Dogfish Head.  I want to love everything they do, but it seems like I have been getting more frustrated with their brews lately.  Dogfish’s site states this is one of the first beers they started brewing, and I can’t help but think they may need to update their recipe on this one.  I might have to go World Wide next time so I know Dogfish is capable of making a tasty stout.  I struggled between a D and C on the grade for this one, but as you’ll see, I decided to go with the C here.  I think I could drink this one again, but I would definitely be looking to see if there is a more interesting stout on the menu first.

Teacher Grade: C


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