Stout -v- Stout: Round 3 – Chocolate Cake

The cold winter nights have left me craving stouts so my boyfriend and I decided to conduct a little beer battle – Stout versus Stout. One night after dinner we sat down to a table of three desserts, two stouts, a notepad and a pen (this is what normal people do, right?). This post sees the stouts matching with homemade chocolate cake!

To briefly recap …

The cold winter nights have left me craving stouts so my boyfriend and I decided to conduct a little beer battle – Stout versus Stout.

One night after dinner we sat down to a table of three desserts, two stouts, a notepad and a pen (this is what normal people do, right?)

The Stouts: Coopers Best Extra and 4 Pines Stout

Coopers Best Extra Stout                                        4 Pines Stout
              Coopers Brewing (SA)                                        4 Pines Brewing (NSW)          
        6.3% abv | Foreign Extra Stout Style            5.1% abv | Irish Dry Stout Style

Round 1: Homemade Creme Brulee – the best match was Coopers Best Extra, read all about it here

Round 2: Chocolate Brownie – the best match was 4 Pines Stout, read all about it here

Now it is time for Round 3 – Chocolate Cake.

The chocolate cake was a belated birthday cake from a friend and was homemade – happy days! Now it seems that there are varying degrees of chocolate cake, from the light chocolatey all the way to the extreme “death by chocolate” approach where you might as well have just bitten into a kilo bag of sugar. This cake was more on the lighter side and definitely delicious!

Judging from the lightness of the cake I would have initially picked 4 Pines for my favourite match but when the two came together what most jumped out was the coffee bitterness, it was kinda sharp and unexpected. Perhaps there wasn’t enough chocolate in the body of the 4 Pines to lift those flavours from the cake. The Coopers Best Extra seemed a superior match, mostly in texture as it has a more creamy body which went nicely with the light fluffiness from the cake. There was much more milk chocolate notes in this matching, perhaps the creamy texture of the beer washed over the cake and brought out those flavours. I’m not really much for technical bits and bobs so I’m really just guessing here! Whether I’m way off track with the reason, it tasted good me to!

Whilst it wasn’t a match that set hearts and palates racing it was Coopers Best Extra that tasted like it had the upper hand.

Best Match … Coopers Best Extra Stout. I think the next stop will be cheese!

Stout -v- Stout + Chocolate Cake

Stout -v- Stout: Round 1 – Creme Brulee

Cold nights means STOUT and what better way to explore this great style by diving head first into some good ol’ head to head tastings. First up in girl+beer’s Stout versus Stout is Coopers Best Extra -v- 4 Pines Stout, fighting for best match with homemade Creme Brulee … let the battle begin!

This winter has offered up some really cold days so naturally the taste buds gravitate towards the dark side of beer … hello Stout!

The history of stout goes back to Porters, popular in London in the 1800s, and were referred to as ‘stout porter’ referring to their stronger and bolder flavours compared to Porters. The modern day stout is, generally speaking, dark and delicious with chocolatey and/or coffee notes. Great with chocolate desserts, a classic with freshly shucked oysters and, at a Five Bar (WA) event whilst I was working there, Nick Bath, Director of Blue Cow Cheese Company & Dr Chuck Hahn matched Mad Brewers Stout Noir with Queso Mahon Grande D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) – divine!

With a couple of stouts in the fridge and the temperatures low, it was time to do a little tasting event at home …

Introducing girl+beer’s Stout versus Stout!

The Stouts …

4 Pines Stout (aka Space Beer) + Coopers Best Extra Stout

Coopers Best Extra Stout                                                                                     4 Pines Stout
Coopers Brewing (SA)                                                                             4 Pines Brewing (NSW)
6.3% abv | Foreign Extra Stout Style                                                              5.1% abv | Irish Dry Stout Style

For the first of three battles, 4 Pines Stout and Coopers Best Extra were matched with homemade Creme Brulee.

I don’t have a positive history with cooking desserts, many a failed attempt come to mind, so I wasn’t feeling overly confident however I had my heart set on the idea. Considering the typical flavours in stouts I decided to throw in a shot of fresh espresso as well.

Firing up the mini blow torch for home made Creme Brulee


We wrote on each glass with a marker so we didn’t lose track of which stout was which; a distinct possibility since we are both a little forgetful at times! The mini blow torch we dug up from my boyfriend’s tool kit did a fine job at caramalising the icing sugar and was a lot more fun than just putting them under the griller as the recipe book had suggested.

It was time to tuck into Creme Brulee and our two Australian stouts …

4 Pines Stout

This had a thinner mouth feel and less head retention than the Coopers Best Extra Stout. There were beautiful coffee and rich dark chocolate flavours in this ‘certified space beer‘ and perhaps hints of vanilla and aniseed. No doubting that it is certainly a beautiful stout but a little thin against the very dense creme brulee and the back palate bitterness clashed with the more dominant sweetness in the dessert.

Coopers Best Extra Stout

A big tan head with aromas of fresh coffee beans that translated into flavour along with chocolate that lightly coated the tongue. It’s got a bit of body and a bit of bite (or as my boyfriend who say “RAAA!”) and the creme brulee washed over it nicely. The caramalised icing sugar on top went particularly well with the beer, emphasising the chocolate sweetness.

Best Match – Coopers Best Extra!

Next Round: Chocolate Brownies