Ballast Point Nitro Red Velvet Review

A decadent, rich, yeast feast in a bottle that is fit for a king…well at least in theory anyway.

Ballast Point has rather unique beer on the market known as the Nitro Red Velvet, and it has all the markings of a Medieval feast on a macabre level. Markings, in this case, meaning the bottle art.

It is a golden oatmeal stout with beets and chocolate on nitro. Sounds legit. Not sure about the beets, though. We’ll get back to that later.

There’s no denying it–the artwork on this beer is wicked at least, beautiful at best. When you’ve got a skeleton king holding a red velvet cake on the left hand and an overflowing chalice on the right (surrounded by a smattering of other high society cuisine and strafed by two skeletal pauper servants), you know you’ve got a winner, right? Well…

HOT: The smoothness is excellent, like a mid-level stout should be. Especially one on nitro.

NOT: The flavors, while layered well, are horribly disproportionate. Every sip tastes like a beet party in the front, chocolate slumber party in the back. It also has this faint, oddly fruity finish.

Nitro Red Velvet First Splash

In case you are not familiar with the word “nitro” in this context, it simply means that the beer has been infused with nitrogen to significantly reduce the amount of carbonation and give it that smooth, creamy-like texture while you consume it. If you’ve ever had a Guinness Stout or a Boddington’s Draught Bitter, then you have had a nitro beer.

Moving along, it has a magenta-esque hue a meager tan head when poured. The very first sip of this beer is not exactly unpleasant, but rather not what I expected. The beets are immediate and prominent, the malt is somewhere in the middle, and the chocolate oatmeal flavors lag behind.

must be a king.gif

But seriously though, who is that guy holding that red velvet cake on the label?

Nitro Red Velvet High Notes

Its easy to drink. At 5.5% ABV, you could sip on these all day without getting too inebriated. The bottle itself makes a statement all its own; it would be a killer conversation piece during a party or get-together.

Nitro Red Velvet Low Notes

If you haven’t noticed by now, the nuclear beet barrage that mushroom clouds in your mouth isn’t the most pleasant experience to have. OK, maybe it’s not THAT bad but the sourness made me think I had a defect when I first tasted it. Like I mentioned earlier, the flavors are layered OK, but they are most certainly disproportionate. Less beets, more chocolate please.

Food Pairings

The Nitro Red Velvet wants to be a dessert beer, so the most logical food pairing with this should, in fact, be dessert. Rich Devil’s food cake, Molten Fudge cake or hell, Red Velvet cake itself.

Besides dessert,  hors d’oeuvres should be the targeted pairing here. Because of the strong beet presence, aged goat cheese like Chevrot would pair nicely with this. I can also see a Humboldt Fog getting in on the action as well.

Is Nitro Red Velvet a Year-Round Drinker?

Not this one. As interesting as an experience that it was, I can’t fool myself into thinking I could perhaps consume this again. If Ballast Point turned this into an Imperial and maybe introduce more cocoa to compensate for the beet dominance, I’d  probably give it another chance.


Beer BB’s Hoptastic Rating: 3.6/5


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