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Heavy Petal: A Chocolate/Magnolia Imperial Stout By Forbidden Root

By Ben Kramer in Food on Feb 13, 2015 8:30PM

Via Forbidden Root
Flowers and chocolates are Valentine’s Day staples. It’s not often you find them together in a bottle. Yet, Forbidden Root managed to do so, integrating West African Chocolate, Magnolia Flowers and Pecans into an Imperial Stout large in ABV (9.2 percent) in bottle size (750 ml champagne bottles).

The beer comes as the first in Forbidden Root’s Divine Mud Series focusing on chocolate-based beers. Though the details aren’t settled, there may be two-tofour variants per year, and they might not be Imperial Stouts every time. Forbidden Root is open to trying different beer styles, botanicals and ingredients; the one constant will always be chocolate.

Back to Heavy Petal. It’s dark, creamy, full bodied, slightly bitter but mildly sweet at the same time. It’s smooth going down and the dark chocolate lingers in your mouth between sips. The Magnolia flowers come through in the aroma sweetly, supplying a “beautiful, floral aromatic,” as brewer/operations manager BJ Pichman, puts it, while also bringing a small tellicherry pepper flavor.

Six pounds of West African Chocolate went into each barrel. The unsweetened chocolate was added late in the process after the boil. The reason, Pichman explains, is that if added in the boil with the grains, the chocolate can lose a lot of the aromatic properties of the chocolate. By throwing the mass in late it “maintains the integrity of the special ingredients.”

Pecans are added to deliver a nuttiness and roastiness to the beer. They and the Magnolias are nods to the American South. Pichman describes the beer as having a Southern type of charm, mentioning, “You got the pecans from Texas. The Magnolias, I think they’re from Georgia.”

Southern hospitality may or may not have played a role in this decision, but the beer was brewed with the purpose of sharing. That’s why it’s packaged in champagne bottles. You can bring it out to dinner, share it with friends or savor it with your lover on Valentine’s Day because screw the flowers and chocolates, you got it all packed in one Heavy Petal!

Don’t wait out though. Only two hundred cases were released to the market, so this Imperial Stout won’t be around for long. If you’re interested in the marriage between Magnolia, Pecan, and Chocolate, then head over to Bottles and Cans (4109 N. Lincoln Ave.) and snatch yourself some of that Heavy Petal.