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A new black stout beer offers rich organic pleasures

A stout so dark that light cannot escape its surface. Next photo: Braumeister Peter Boettcher, left, with VO Food editor Paul Voykin.  Photos by Justine Clarke.

The newest offering from BC-based NatureLand is made with organic malt that has been roasted until it is either black (heavily roasted) or "chocolate" (somewhat less roasted). The combination of black and chocolate malts gives the Black Stout beer a dark, rich-tasting body with lingering sweet, chocolaty notes.

According to Braumeister Peter Boettcher, without the black and chocolate specialty malts, this beer would be light, slightly fruity and clean-tasting. Once the specialty malts have been added, however, they infuse the beer with a strong, heady bouquet and a chocolaty finish. It is also fermented longer than most stouts, which accounts for its hefty 6.2% alcohol content.

Boettcher recommends this beer as an apertif or a dessert beer because of its sweetness, but points out that it also makes a great accompaniment to a thick Irish stew or an equally heavy meal. I can personally attest to the dangers of consuming it on a relatively empty stomach (6.2% can really sneak up on you), but the risk is well worth the reward.

Personally, I thought that the Black Stout had a surprisingly light body for a stout beer, not sitting too heavily in the stomach. This was a pleasant surprise for me, as I often find stouts to be too filling to drink more than a glass or two at a time. Also, despite its sweet, chocolaty character, it had a relatively mild finish that stopped short of the overly cloying sweetness that some dessert stouts exhibit.

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