Lump of Coal Stout

Lump of Coal StoutLump of Coal Stout ("Dark Holiday Stout") is from Ridgeway Brewing in England and imported by Shelton Brothers. (Those of the "Bad Elf" and "Santa’s Butt" fame.) It’s a hefty brew at 8% alcohol by volume, but it’s very drinkable and you wouldn’t know it’s that high.

Appearance: A bit translucent, deep red highlights through an inky cola-black. Very little head.

Smell: Dark slightly astringent malt, some black coffee. Some sweet, dark syrupy notes… mild.

Taste: Nice nutty dark flavors, roasted grains and bitter coffee. A spicy character that reminds me of barrel aging; a "from the wood" spiciness. A bit of peppery alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. A bit thin, not really medium-bodied—reminds me of Guinness, vis-à-vis stout; it’s there, but lighter than you expect.

Overall: Not a bad beer by any stretch, but I was hoping for a thicker, chewier stout. More body, in other words. It’s kind of a cross of a stout and a Winter Warmer…

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a letter grade of B- ("worthy"). On RateBeer, it scores 3.21 out of 5, and is in their 62nd percentile.