Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout is an 8.5% imperial stout from Sankt Gallen, based in Atsugi, in Kanagawa, Japan. It’s part of their limited edition lineup and is their 2022 offering for Valentine’s Day. As the name suggests, Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout is brewed using grapes, with the domestic Muscat Bailey A species from Yamanashi being used to make this beer. Over 400 kg of grapes are used in every batch of Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout, but with such a large amount being used, this beer is technically classified as a happoshu beer. At the time of writing, there are no plans to release it again.
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout : At A Glance
- Alcohol : 8.5%
- Style : Imperial stout
- Hops : East Kent Golding & Simcoe
- IBU : 24
- Availability : Limited edition
- On Sale : From January 2022
- Size : 350 ml
- Price : From 570 yen
Aroma & Taste
- Notable Aromas : Strong grape nose with chocolate and coffee. Earthy aroma when warm.
- Notable Tastes : Big grape flavour, followed by chocolate and coffee. Bitter astringency when warm.
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout : Aroma & Taste
Every year, Sankt Gallen bring out something different for Valentine’s, and Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout is no exception. I honestly can not remember of ever having tried a stout that has been mixed with grapes. IPAs? Yep had a few. Saisons? One or two. So when it came to this beer, I have to admit, I was hesitant to try it.
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout poured out a thick black colour with a massive amount of frothy, off-white head on top that took ages to settle down. As it did, it left streaks down the side of the glass that remained until the end of drinking. The aroma though, from start to finish, was grapes – that typical sweet, slightly astringent aroma was unmistakable.
I like grapes but my head could not just get around the fact that I wasn’t drinking a glass of wine. Once Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout had warmed up, there was also some chocolate and coffee notes that came through the grape bouquet of aromas, and there was even a touch of earthy hops, which was uprising, but alas the grape aroma dominated over drinking.
The body to Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout was as peculiar as the nose as the first, and boldest, flavour to come through was, you guessed it, unapologetically grapes. The sweet, berry like flavour of Muscat Bailey A came through, and was not too dissimilar to strawberries, though it lacked the juiciness of the fruit. The flavour really was the most dominating throughout drinking.
What are Muscat Bailey A?
Muscat Bailey A is a deep pink-skinned grape variety used to make light red wines, that were first grown in the 1920s by Kawakami Zenbei. The grapes he previously tried to grow were not suited to the harsh winter climate of Niigata.
He began a process of cross-breeding to find a grape that could stand the cold, often freezing, conditions. Itripens early and easily; vital in advance of Japan’s southern summer typhoons, and northern autumn snows.
Once Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout had warmed up though, there was also some semblance of an imperial stout base, with chocolate and coffee coming through the grape flavour, but it wasn’t enough to convince me that I was drinking an imperial stout flavoured with grapes, but grape juice flavoured with imperial stout additions. The hops brought some earthy quality to proceedings before a bitter astringency, from the grapes and not the malts, came through. In the end, it was all about the grapes.
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout : The Bottom Line
There’s a reason why stouts and grapes don’t go well together – I think the grapes would have been better suited to a pale ale or IPA than an imperial stout.
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout : Where To Buy
Sankt Gallen Grape Chocolate Stout can be bought online at the following places: