If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve become a fan of Late Start since I moved to Florida only 5 months ago. This beer was released at the tail end of Tampa Bay Beer Week. In fact, I was able to get this beer the day after it was released. That tells me, people have been sleeping on Late Start. One of their brewers works at Angry Chair and the other is at 7venth Sun. So, they got skills. At some point, people are going to realize this, and I won’t be able to easily get my hands on their bottles.
Color Bars is an Imperial Stout with Mint, Coffee, Cacao, and Vanilla. My wife is a huge fan of mint chocolate stouts. So, her opinion will speak volumes. Of course, our favorite mint chocolate stout is 17 by Perennial Artisan Ales. So, let’s see how this beer matches up.
Color Bars pours dark, like ink in the glass, with little to no head at all. Swirling the beer in the tulip does nothing to reinvigorate the head. This seems to be normal for a Late Start stout so it makes me wonder if these are under carbonated or it’s how these are bottled. They don’t taste under carbonated, so take that thought for what it’s worth. 🙂
So much sweet chocolate on the nose with a touch of mint. I can almost smell the minty cold freshness on this. As it warms, the aroma changes. Now it’s like a cool blast in your nostrils. That’s well done, people! I feel like this could clear the sinuses! Wow, what a fantastic aroma!
This is a medium-bodied stout. I do wish it was a tad thicker and chewier. It’s got a nice mixture of chocolate sweetness and powerful mint on the tongue. I don’t get much vanilla from this, but to be honest, that’s the first of these to disappear with age. It’s been two months since this stout was released at the time of this writing/drinking, but I did have this on tap when I bought this bottle. To be honest, it tastes similar (as far as I can remember), so take that for what it’s worth. The coffee is subtle, and for me, mostly in the after taste. It’s not out front and acidic or astringent, so that’s nice.
As it warms, the mint really shines through on this one. There’s an underlying sweetness in the base on this beer, but the adjuncts are really well done. I would love (and I mean LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E) more or prevalent vanilla in this stout. To me, that would push it over the top. 17 by Perennial (link below) is probably the best mint chocolate stout we’ve ever had. It perfectly melded the mint and chocolate together in a luscious, delectable, and dare I say, sinful stout. The BA version is even better. Color Bars comes close, which, to me, shows so much promise for the guys from Late Start. Man, I’m glad I’m only about 15 minutes away from the brewery. I really look forward to what these guys can do in the future.
For the record, my wife gave this a “Wow!” after it warmed. So, yes, this is a tasty stout. Late Start is on their game!
- ABV: 10.5%
- IBU: n/a
- Untappd Rating: 4.18
- # of Ratings: 98