She Was Such a Sweet Girl
By definition, a vixen is an ill-tempered, quarrelsome woman. Although, contemporary usage of the word suggests a more seductive, playful side, the word roots itself in a darker connotation. However, both usages suit Samuel Adams’ incarnation of a chocolate-chili bock that they appropriately deemed The Vixen.
The brewers at the research and development plant in Boston used chilies from Mexico, cocoa nibs from Ecuador and cinnamon from Southeast Asia to build this potent, black concoction beverage. The smell of chocolate is pronounced from the moment the cap is removed and the smell of alcohol lingers close behind. The opaque fluid that pours from the mouth of the bottle resembles a stout or a porter as it settles into the glass with a creamy head at the top. As the name implies, this beer is quite boisterous, expressing herself with a vigorous 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.
To diagnose this beer in psychological terms: it is very bi-polar. Sweet at the onset and spicy at the finish. It pulls at your heartstrings with its rich, inviting aroma of chocolate but then the kicks you in the teeth as the heat from the chili peppers ravages your palate. The balance is lacking, though, and the taste of alcohol is poorly masked by the cocoa and peppers.
New Belgium Brewing company took a better swing at this style of ale with this year’s addition of Cocoa Mole Ale. For any Sam Adams loyalists not ready to jump ship, The Vixen is moderately priced ($5.99 for a 22 ounce bottle) and worth giving a shot. The Vixen is part of Samuel Adams’ line of limited releases that include an English stout named Dark Depths and Tasman Red, their take on a red IPA.
Here’s Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch taking you through a tasting of The Vixen.
Video courtesy of Sam Adams