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04-21-00

Beer Review #325 Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand Brewing Company has been having fun putting their excellent stouts in bottles with nitrogen carbonation. My last example was reviewed here. I’ve seen very few breweries going the nitro route as it can be difficult and expensive. In most cases, nitrogen carbonated beers are done in a can with a widget, but not Left Hand.

Their normal Milk Stout is one of my favorites. It strikes all of the right balances and really shines as a example of the style. When I saw the nitro version of their Milk Stout, I bought a case, a rarity for me. The beer pours a smooth black. There is very little head what the resulting head is tan in color. The nose is sweet but chocolatly. The major chocolate note that I get is dark chocolate with some hints of milk chocolate. I didn’t get a lot of roast and there was no hop aroma to speak of.

04-21-02On the first taste I was overwhelmed with how smooth this beer drinks. From start to finish this is a complete beer. A nice caramel and milk chocolate sweetness starts off the beer and then flows into a chocolate and roast explosion. The roast isn’t overly bitter, but it’s there and helps balance the beer. The chocolate is also bitter, the way dark chocolate is, and provides some great flavor. I love the progression of flavor in this beer. It leaves on a slightly sweet note with bits of dark chocolate bitterness hanging on. It’s a complete drink, plain and simple.

I love Left Hand’s regular version of this beer, but the nitro version kicks it up a notice. It has great flavor, balance, and drinkability. For a stout, it’s not overly thick or filling. It sits right in the sweet-spot of beers for me. I highly, highly suggest this beer.

 

03-25-00

Beer Review #321 Wake Up Dead Nitro

03-25-02Left Hand Brewing Company has just started to be carried again at my local beer store so I have been trying a whole bunch of their stuff recently. I love their Milk Stout and their Nitro Milk Stout. I saw Wake Up Dead Nitro the other day and I grabbed it quickly. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout that comes in at 10.2% ABV.

Wake Up Dead Nitro pours a jet black color and comes with a thin tan head. The bubbles are super small thanks to the nitrogen carbonation. The nose is pretty blank. I really struggled to get anything from this one. Generally you expect some chocolates and roast and maybe even some hops, but I didn’t even get a hint of caramel off of this one. Weird.

On the first taste I was blown away by the malt flavor. There are lots of dark chocolates and roast going on. Some heat comes into the mix as the drink moves to the halfway portion. I also got some raisins and cherries which added a nice layer of complexity. There are some dark fruits that mix in at the end along with the return of the dark chocolate and the bitterness that it brings.

I very much liked this beer. It has a nice, complex malt and is everything that an Imperial Russian Stout should be. I wish it had a bit more on the nose, but I don’t know if that’s do to the nitro carbonation. If you are looking for a solid stout that has some ( a lot) of strength, this one is for you. (more…)

03-10-00

Beer Review #317 Double Chocolate Milk Stout

03-10-03Over two years ago now I reviewed Lancaster Brewing Company’s Milk Stout. It’s one of the best milk stout’s that I’ve come across next to Left Hand’s version, which I shockingly haven’t reviewed yet. I was at the beer store today minding my own business when the image of a cow being covered in chocolate assaulted my eyes. The words under the aforementioned cow read “Double Chocolate Milk Stout.” Naturally, I bought it.

The bottle says that this is a stout brewed with cacao nibs. It comes in at 6.8% so for a double, this isn’t on the crazy scale alcohol wise. This stout pours a pitch black with a thin tan head. I have no idea if it is clear or not as it is a dark beer. The nose is solidly chocolate with a slight malt sweetness. There are no hops or heat to be found on this one. It honestly smells like a chocolate milkshake.

On the first taste I got all chocolate. It’s not milk chocolate, chocolate, but rather dark chocolate, chocolate. It’s a mix of bitter, roasty, and odd sweetness. I say odd sweetness because you don’t expect to get a sweet flavor on something that comes off as bitter as this one. The bitterness sits on the tongue and lingers for a long time after the drink has left. I tastes like you just drank a 60% cacao chocolate bar. It’s impressive, if you like dark chocolate.

For a milk stout this one isn’t overly sweet or thick. It stays medium in mouthfeel and drinks easily. Lancaster Brewing Company really doubled down on the chocolate (dark not milk) and hit a homerun in my book. I really dig dark chocolate. The bitterness and sweetness balance nicely, but, as with most dark chocolates, the bitterness wins in the end leaving you wanting more. Well done. (more…)

07-14-02

Beer Review #300 Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale

07-14-02For this site’s 300th beer review, I figured that I should post about a special beer. It also so happens that today’s review covers one of my favorite local breweries, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They make some fantastic beer that is always fresh and hits the spot. Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale is part of their Migration Series of beer, which are seasonal and always barrel aged. My bottle happened to be #795 of 1400 bottles produced. This winter 2012 edition has the following to say on the label, “a dark ale aged eight months in oak bourbon barrels.” It also comes in at 10.5%. This might not be a summer beer style but good is good anytime of the year.

This beer pours a dark black with a tan head that quickly fades. It is too dark to see if it is clear or not, even when tipped and held up to the light. The nose has a light bourbon aroma that provides a bit of heat and warmth. A good helping of roasted malt and dark chocolate are being the bourbon and really provide some great malt notes. I got just a hint of oak, but not as much as I was expecting for a beer aged for eight months.

Roasted malt and dark chocolate come threw first on the first taste. And as a bourbon barrel aged beer should, this beer has kick of bourbon and oak. The bourbon is very mild and really blends well with the malt. The oak smooths out the flavor and helps blend everything together nicely. There is a slight hop bitterness at the end but nothing that is overly complex or strong. This one drinks creamy and thick. A true sipper.

I really dug this one. It is one of the smoothest and most balanced bourbon aged beers that I have ever had. The bourbon isn’t crazy intense on this beer, but adds a good amount of complexity and depth to a already great beer. I really wish there were more than 1400 bottles of this produced and I will be keeping an eye out for when the 2013 version comes out. (more…)

Beer Review #255 KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

12-26-03I have one of those “mystical” craft beers for today’s review. It is a hard beer to get and is highly regraded my many in the industry. Founders Brewing Company made a massive imperial stout (11.2% ABV) and then aged it oak bourbon barrels for a year before bottling this bad boy. The amount of time and effort that goes into making a beer like this is impressive. Finding one to actually try is equally as impressive. A special thanks to my buddy Mike who got this beer for me.

KBS pours a jet black color and has a tan head that quickly fades into the inky liquid below. The nose is packed with lots of chocolate and a bit of roast. There is bourbon present, but it’s not a crazy amount of bourbon like Victory’s Dark Intrigue. I didn’t get any hops on this one which was a slight surprise as it comes in at 70 IBUs.

On the first taste I got blown away by the amount of dark chocolate flavors being thrown at my mouth. There is a good amount of bitter baker’s chocolate followed by a slight roast on the end. There is some bourbon flavor, but it is rather muted and adds a nice depth of flavor to the beer. As the beer warms up the heat comes out more, but it is by no means a negative in the beer. All of the flavors really sing together and meld in the most wonderful of ways.

As expected for an imperial stout, this beer is very thick and creamy in the mouth. It’s a wonderful sipping beer that you can enjoy for long stretches. This beer is strong, bold, and balanced. I can really see why this beer is so loved and I will buy it at any chance that I have to get it. (more…)