Review: Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. - Channel Ocho

Welcome back to the OBC's site!  It's been a while, hasn't it?  Miss us?  We missed you, trust me.  After a break from reviewing (but not from enjoying) beers, we're back.  I'm going to kick things off with a sampling of the latest creation to come out of Beau's: Channel Ocho, a mexican spiced ale weighing in at a whopping 8.9%!

The recipe list on this one is pretty long.  From cocoa nibs and cane sugar to chipotle peppers and cloves (and a whole lot in between!) this beer has A LOT going on.  Let's see how this all blends together, shall we?

Appearance: This pours a hazy dark chestnut brown with a reasonably thick beige head.  The retention on the head is minimal, dissipating quickly and leaving nothing behind in terms of lacing.

Aroma: Like I said, this beer has a lot going on, and it definitely comes through in the aroma.  I get some roasted malts with some dry dark chocolate up front followed by a peppery sweetness with a light undertone of esters.

Flavour: Pepper.  Boom!  Right up front and centre.  That chipotle is definitely there, but strangely not overpowering despite it being very bold.  Most likely because it gives way to a nice sweet chocolaty malt profile that just balances out the spicy pepper quite nicely.  Finally, much like in the nose, there's a fruity ester characteristic that adds a nice little "je ne sais quoi" to the mix.  The aftertaste is quite splendid, the chocolate sweetness fades into a nice peppery finish, reminding you once again that yes, this beer was brewed with chipotle peppers.

Mouthfeel: Clean and smooth with light and fine carbonation.  The mouthcoating is actually quite nice, full bodied without a lingering coating on the tongue.

Overall: Beau's just keeps on bringing it.  There are a lot of interesting ingredients, and I was actually afraid that this was going to be a little much.  But damn, this works very, very well.  I'd have to say this was one of the more complex and interesting beers I've had this year.  Is it sessionable?  Hell no.  What would you expect from an 8.9% beer with a list of ingredients the length of a small child's arm?  It's a great beer, but definitely not something that one would drink all night long.  At least, I don't think I could...  Still, keeping a couple in the fridge when you're looking for a nicely balanced, complex beer is definitely something I would recommend.

Interested in giving it a try?  It's currently available at the brewery and at select bars and pubs around town.

As always, thanks for reading!

-James