Coffee + Stout + Milk = Happy

Welcome to the dark side, loyal reader! Rather than push our collective glasses up the bridge of our collective noses and mutter about ABV, IBU and SRM*, we're going to appreciate the lighter, more fun aspects of darker beers. Dark beer is a blast — and tasting styles with unusual adjuncts is a great way to make that point. This week, we're going to sample stouts that include coffee and milk flavors. We've tasted coffee beers, and we've tasted milk stouts. Now, it's time to appreciate the twisted beer geniuses that have combined these harmonious flavors into one delicious creation.

Black Hog Brewing Coffee Milk Stout

Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 5.5%

Availability: Purchased at Maine Beer and Beverage Co.

Tasting Notes: Pours a deep garnet, with a thin head of brown foam. Aroma has unsweetened cocoa, floral notes, toasted nuts and warm coffee. The initial flavor is a dry and tangy, roasted, and bitter. The simple bitterness expands and spreads, becoming characteristic of bitter espresso. A plush, tropical character develops, joined by toffee, cocoa, and dark wood. These flavors unfold over a background of subtle, creamy sweetness. The coffee and cocoa flavors are bold, bitter and punchy, but they're nicely mellowed by that creamy sweetness. The mouthfeel is rich and substantive, and the finish is tastefully sweet. Imagine a cup of cold-brew, with a shot each of espresso and cream, and you're getting there. What a drink to wrap up a rich meal!

Narragansett Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout

FormatSampled: 16 oz. can

ABV: 5.3%

Availability: Purchased at the Craft Beer Cellar

Tasting Notes: Pours a deep, dark brown with a thick head of foam. The aroma is earthy and evocative. It smells exactly like gas station coffee! It's warm, nutty, slightly oxidized and deeply comforting. The initial flavor is sweet, laced with coffee and milk — refreshing in the way that a coffee frappe is on a hot day. My gullet is not wide enough to admit the quantity of this that I would like to consume. It's not a complicated beer. It's like a sitcom that includes the clips with the biggest laugh lines from the past several seasons — an amalgamation of the “greatest hits” of stout, coffee and cream. There's no depth, but there are plenty of alcoholic, caffeinated giggles.

Stone Brewing Coffee Milk Stout

FormatSampled: 12 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 5.0%

Availability: Purchased at the Craft Beer Cellar

Tasting Notes: Pours an effervescent brown/black with a thin, brown head. Aroma is simultaneously bright and rich, with cold coffee, dark chocolate, and cherry. The initial flavor is bright and acid — like a lightly roasted Mexican coffee. There's some floral character, fresh smoke, and a tremendous mineral structure. There is very little sweetness. The hint of dairy character is just enough to bring out the natural sweetness of the coffee and the malt. The finish is crisp and snappy, with some flowery notes accenting the bitter aftertaste of the coffee.

Beer Geek Translation: IBU stands for International Bitterness Units, ABV is Alcohol By Volume and SRM is Standard Reference Method, a measurement of malt color. Phew. Acronyms make me thirsty. Pass me a beer.

Last modified onTuesday, 07 February 2017 15:57