Modus Operandi Black Lab Milk Stout

Total Score: 7.05/10 Coffee1DarkFruits1Chocolate1Nonicpint1

Today’s adventure in beer is [dun dun-dun dun-na]: Modus Operandi’s Black Lab Milk Stout. The in-joke with the name of the beer (which I looked up) is due to Modus brewery having an unofficial mascot: A black Labrador named “Stout”. This is of course a clever name for a black Labrador which works on many levels, Stout being another word for obese and Labradors being renowned for being insatiable dogs that will keep eating until… forever. I’ve never met a Labrador that could control its hunger. So this Milk Stout should be pretty well done – Modus are, for me at least, one of a select few Aussie brewers who usually get their beer mouthfeels right, oh yeah and flavour in general. Time to tuck in.

Poured from a 500ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Looks good so far – dense/creamy 2 centimetre tan head that ever slowly compacts down, deep cola coloured body that is probs opaque but it’s always hard to tell with Stouts… wait the head is suddenly dissolving into almost nothing – oh dear! 6/10.

S: Rich coffee cherry goodness with a smattering of dark chocolate, hints of dark fruits a roasty character. Fingers crossed – but it would be amazing if this came within a glimmer of their brilliant limited 2nd birthday release: Caribbean Queen… however that brew actually had loads of chocolate brewed into it, I’m not sure if this will come close, the aroma is pretty standard Stout stuff here. 7/10.

T: Sorta halfway between the (dark) fruitiness of a Baltic Porter and a regular old Milk Stout. Flavours are alright, though it is definitely one of Modus’s more restrained brews with notes of: Red coffee cherries, milk/dark chocolate, dark fruits (prune, raisin) and a long roasted dry finish. Again – decent but not a shining star in Modus’s oeuvre. 7/10.

M: Once again Modus does a great job here – I’ve had a few Aussie Milk Stouts recently and none of them have this nice medium bodied, silky smooth texture. There’s a touch of thinness to the carbonation that detracts from a perfect score but this is otherwise excellent. 8/10.

D: Again with Modus there is an expectation to be wowed out of the gates, however this Milk Stout is proof that not every Modus beer has to be “PHWOAR!” sometimes a bit of restraint can go a long way. In the case of Black Lab this is a nice, easy-drinking Milk Stout with decent texture, cheers! 7/10.

Food match: Welcome to stew country! Irish stew specifically.

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Brouhaha Brewery Milk Stout

Total Score: 5.55/10 Earth1Coffee1BrownSugar1Nonicpint1

Time for more of “Doc’s Misadventures In Beer!” starring Doc, and his nonic pint. Today’s thrilling episode: Brouhaha Brewery Milk Stout [cue: adventure music]. So far I’ve tried the Brouhaha Double IPA, which was unexpectedly decent. This time I’ve got my hands on a Milk Stout, Brouhaha are from a small town north of Brisbane called Maleny that is known for its dairy production, so it’s no surprise that a Maleny brewer (and probably the only brewer in Maleny – it’s not a big town) has brewed a beer using the non-fermentable sugar found in milk: Lactose. What I generally look for in a Milk Stout is a touch of sweetness and a nice hefty smooth body, here’s hoping Brouhaha can keep the good times rolling.

Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.

A: Splotchy tan head, a bit too splotchy IMO, fizzles down faster than I can type this sentence to a thin blanket. Body is opaque and a dark mocha colour. Looks alright – however that head was an ominous sign (it had very little density). 5/10.

S: Earthy upfront with a coffee slant: roasted espresso beans. No chocolate characters noted. Bit thin on the aroma side as well. Also not a good sign – this Stout is lacking in complexity and a touch in intensity… hopefully the flavour makes up for this lacklustre beginning… 5/10.

T: Flavour is an improvement – though it does suffer from the above problems (lack of complexity/intensity) at least it’s not a terrible brew, just very so-so. Flavours are as noted above: earthy character, roasted espresso beans. With an added character from the Lactose: an almost straight dextrose character. Finishes slightly dry with a mild coffee bitterness. All rather pedestrian unfortunately. 6/10.

M: Definitely lacking in body for a Milk Stout: Lightish with some unwanted wateriness, and a thin carbonation. No good Brouhaha – need to work on this aspect for sure in future batches! 4/10.

D: After the reasonably well done Double IPA this brew falls flat. Compare it to one of my favourite Aussie Milk Stouts: Exit #003 Milk Stout, there’s really no competition – Exit nails the style and this Brouhaha is like a canoe filled with holes [close to, and rapidly filling with water?]. If you want a decent Milk Stout then keep on searching (or buy Exit’s #003). Shame though, as I really like to support small craft brewers, but Brouhaha need to rejig this recipe (mix in more different malts, add more Lactose, something!). 6/10.

Food match: Roast beef, mash & gravy and a yorkie: classic Stout territory.

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Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Total Score: 7.95/10 Nut1Chocolate1Malt1Nonicpint1

This has got to be the weirdest beer name I’ve encountered in a while… and that’s saying something (I generally buy the first weird beer I cross paths with at the bottle shop). Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout sounds like a dreadful accident, but to me it’s like the accident you slow down to look at (or in this case: Drink). So it was without hesitation that I made a purchase-plunge, no regrets now, time to rip into a belching beaver – here’s hoping this isn’t a disaster like that Rogue Voodoo Lemon Crueller that tasted like fake lemon cleaning products: One always runs that risk with these ultra-weird flavoured beers.

Poured from a 375ml can (weird size for a US made beer!) into a nonic pint.

A: Presents a jet black body with a thin caramel-coloured head that sticks around pretty well. Judging by the creaminess of the head this belching beaver will have a nice chewy mouthfeel… we’ll see hey. 9/10.

S: Something odd registers in the nose from the outset – it’s like a solvent/disinfectant smell… not sure what it is, but it’s distracting. Other than that: Peanuts (obvs!), milk and dark chocolate, a hint of roasted malt and powdered cocoa. Overall, apart from that solvent/disinfectant smell, it’s right on the “Peanut Butter Milk Stout/Reece’s Pieces” money. 7/10.

T: Again a hint of oddness in the flavour, as described above, from the first sip… then ever so strangely it fades as you take more sips. Copy/paste my above aroma descriptions for the taste: Peanuts, milk and dark chocolate, a hint of roasted malt and powdered cocoa for a “Reece’s Pieces in a glass” experience. Finish is a slight dark chocolate bitterness that balances out the peanut/chocolate sweetness which precedes it. 8/10.

M: Rich and creamy, mid to heavy bodied, almost Founders body (but not quite) with a thin but dense carbonation – top shelf Milk Stout body right here! 9/10.

D: The solvent/disinfectant distraction is the only fly in the ointment of this otherwise solid peanut/chocolate beer journey… WTF is giving it that aroma/flavour?! Who knows, but once you get past it this is an enjoyable Milk Stout that rewards a sweet tooth, without becoming a sugar-bomb, tasty stuff Mr. Beaver! [oh please, call me by my first name] Ok, no problem, cheers Belching! 8/10.

Food Match: Roasted beaver tail… seriously though: Reece’s Pieces.

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Bacchus Brewing Timmy Ho’s Double Double

Total Score: 6.85/10 Coffee1BrownSugar1Chocolate1Tulipglass1

Been looking forward to this one since… well, since last week when it came in to my local Black Sheep Bottle Shop (at Stafford, QLD). Still feels like a long time to be waiting to crack open a Bacchus brew as they have so much creativity poured into them – as I mentioned last time round they’re like the Australian Mikkeller, and I love Mikkeller (any craft beer aficionado worth their salt loves Mikkeller!). So this is one that I’m really looking forward to as an out-and-out coffee snob: Timmy Ho’s Double Double, i.e. double cream, double sugar – if it turns out to be both of those then it is game/set/match Bacchus.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep dark brown with a smattering of black body and a wafer thin tan to mocha head on top. Hard not to be drawn in by such an ominous appearance – I do love Stouts for that reason – so dark: Like the heart of Africa it beats and stirs up primal urges before releasing its intoxicating fragrances. 8/10.

S: Double “Yes! Please and thank you!” bold espresso coffee with red coffee bean characters smacks one across the face with a challenge that one can only reply to with “Moi?”. There are also impressions of brown sugar, demerara sweetness and hints of molasses finishing off this heady Coffee/Milk Stout scent. If there’s one complaint, and it is positive to note that this very same complaint was registered in my review of FBS (a beer that needs no de-abbreviation): It’s a little one-dimensional in the aroma… prepare thyself Doc. 7/10.

T: Unfortunately it’s no Australian FBS… shame because you could really go somewhere with that cachet. Flavours turned out to be a mix between espresso and filter coffee, brown sugar, 70% chocolate and a hint of vanilla. It’s tasty, yes, certainly and indeed, but it needs a bit of something something… actually the flavour is pretty decent – the mouthfeel is distracting though. 7/10.

M: Overtly thin body (mid to light) given the style, with a fizzy carbonation and less density than is needed here. 5/10.

D: This is one beer that really fell on its sword re: Mouthfeel – it really makes a difference with a beer that is heavy/sticky/chewy like FBS and this offering to the beer gods from Bacchus (aka the wine god). Of course flavour isn’t as great as FBS, so it’s not perfect there either. However with a woefully thin and gassy mouthfeel this brew was headed nowhere for me. #mouthfeelmatters 7/10.

Food match: Oats, lots of oats… wait that’s what the beer needed, oh well. Stew!

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Mornington Peninsula #tinnage006 Sacchariferous Stout

Total Score: 7.4/10 Chocolate1DarkFruits1Coffee1Nonicpint1

Suffering-Sacchariferous Stout! *my best Daffy Duck voice* The latest Mornington Peninsula #tinnage release – which according to the 3 digit number could theoretically reach #999, which at the rate they’re pumping them out is entirely possible – is number 006 and Australia’s 2nd ever nitro beer after the #tinnage004 Dog’s Bollocks. Keep ‘em coming Mornington, I enjoyed Dog’s Bollocks, even had Dog’s Bollocks in my mouth the other day [that is the last Dog’s Bollocks joke I will ever write I swear!] so I’m looking forward to this nitro Milk Stout.

Poured (vigorously) from a 330ml nitro-charged can into a nonic pint.

A: Looks a real treat! Deep dark cola brown with a perfect 1 centimetre tan head that stands tall – I love nitro beers. Give it a minute though and the head falls slowly back onto itself like a dying star – what a shame hey. 8/10.

S: Sweet milk chocolate and roasted chicory notes abound. Hints of dark fruit and mocha latte linger on in the background. The aroma is decent enough, not too muted, borderline great as far as Milk Stouts go (which can tend towards blandness – they’re the Al Gore of Stouts). 8/10.

T: Sweet milk chocolate and roasted chicory mingle with hints of dark fruit and mocha latte. Finishes dry, like an Irish Dry Stout, with a hint of coffee bitterness. Flavour is solid with a toasty/roasty Milk Stout goodness then. 8/10.

M: Not good – loses its nitro carbonation really quickly, so drink up fast if you want to experience it best – for this review mine ended up with mid to light body and flat as a tack carbonation. 4/10.

D: The biggest problem came because my reviews generally take 5-10 mins to type up and in this time Sacchariferous Stout went totally flat! Weird because I didn’t get that experience with the Dog’s Bollocks (that was lumpy and slightly salty to taste… face!). I think I would have enjoyed this more if I was just drinking it (quickly!) rather than reviewing it, so take my point inasmuch as you would for your own drinking pace – mine is quite fast, I can down a 6-pack of beer at a rate that would leave me poor (and yellow-skinned) if I didn’t put a pre-set limit on myself. So yeah I’m going to down the next remaining cans in the 4-pack as quickly as possible so that the nitro doesn’t have a chance to escape forever into our atmosphere before my glass is empty, Prost peeps! 7/10.

Food match: I was going to end with the usual witty remark like “drinking quickly” but as an actual suggestion beef and Guinness pie is kinda useful.

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Bacchus Brewing Snickers Chocolate Ale

Total Score: 8.4/10 Chocolate1Nut1Caramel1Nonicpint1

Whilst this is the first beer I’m reviewing from Capalaba based Bacchus, it’s not the first beer of theirs I’ve tried, I’ve happily gorged myself on: Maple Coffee Stout, Lamington Dark Ale, a Scotch Ale I forget the name of, and their award winning White Chocolate Raspberry Pilsner – however most of those were consumed before I begin reviewing beers you see (and I didn’t keep any notes dagnabbit!). If I did I would have praised their beers for being “wildly inventive – an Aussie version of Mikkeller if you will”. This is about to change as I’m finally going review Bacchus Snickers Chocolate Ale, and Snickers being my 2nd favourite chocolate bar of all time (after Twix, duh!) I think this Bacchus and I will get along just fine.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into nonic pint.

A: Ruddy brown, slightly hazed complexion with a fulsome 1 centimetre Ecru head that slowly recedes to a thin layer of goodness. Looks alright hey, not spectacular but moreish… and the smell wafting off it is incredible, but I’m jumping the gun [again!]. 7/10.

S: Chocolate: Shedloads of it. I can’t get over how chocolatey this beer is, I want to lie in a bath tub full of this goodness. Hints of peanut and salted caramel make a pop in but damn, DAMN that chocolate! 9/10.

T: Bacchus just nails it. Nails. It. This is exactly what a Snickers would taste like if you could melt it down and ferment it in a vat for 3 weeks. It’s got chocolate (in spades), caramel, a hint of salt, peanuts and the finish is a slight earthy bitterness to keep the almost rampant sweetness in check. Oh yeah – it’s pretty sweet too, but it’s a beer done in the style of a chocolate bar, FFS what did you expect?! 9/10.

M: Mouthfeel once again is the weakest link in the experience: Medium with a slightly sharp carbonation – I’m splitting hairs here but if it had the body of a Founders brew I would be in some sort of gooey Snickers heaven. 6/10.

D: This beer is due to the fervently unchecked imagination of one Mr. Ross Kendrick, and this flight of fancy into a world where a popular candy bar becomes a delicious alcoholic beverage has paid off in my books. It’s not all roses though – although perfect as a dessert beer it’s a bit on the sweet side meaning a night of hard Snickers beer devouring is off the cards for a pre-pre-diabetic like me. Also: MOAR body! Those niggles aside this brew is one Snickery delight. 8/10.

Food match: Need I mention Snickers? OK, yeah we got that already. How about a chargrilled beef steak with a mole negro sauce and grilled vegies? Sweet!

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Modus Operandi Caribbean Queen

Total Score: 8.7/10 Chocolate1Coconut1Vanilla1Tulipglass1

Modus Operandi is 2 years old, hooray! I remember when Modus was a little tyke – I rolled in that first keg of Former Tenant Red IPA at The Durham thinking “Huh, Red IPA, that sounds tasty” – now look where we are 2 years later with Caribbean Queen staring back at me. The label really it sells it though: “A sumptuous Dark Ale brewed with coconut, lactose and milk chocolate. This decadent lady tastes like a lamington and brings the fat child out in all of us”. Damn, there’s about 10 words in that description that excite me as a beer drinker.

Poured from a 500ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Rich dark mahogany body with a 1 centimetre beige head that sticks around quite well and leaves some lacing on the side of the glass. Well… this is going to be quite good to say the least. 9/10.

S: Coconut and milk chocolate come to the fore, as advertised. Hints of vanilla and brown sugar, the subtlety of which (you think/know) belies a great big bear-hug of a brew. Other than that not much else… again this gives the impression of a sleeper beer – one that has a muted aroma followed by a sucker punch of flavour. 7/10.

T: This is a chocolate beer for the ages! The greatest impact of this brew being in the mouthfeel due to an obviously large quantity of lactose [we’ll get to that next] but overall it hits home with an exceptional milk chocolate flavour that provides IMO just the right amount of sweetness. Following this with some light vanilla, cacao nibs and brown sugar. Finishes with coconut and a light bitter espresso coffee note which doesn’t distract from the flavour. I want more. 9/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with an opulent lactose driven silkiness to the body/carbonation which really puts this brew up there with Founders on mouthfeel – and that is high praise indeed! 10/10.

D: It’s pretty close competition between Russel Brown and Caribbean Queen for my beer of the night but I must say I am a sucker for a decadent chocolate beer and this is pretty close to La Sirène’s Praline for my favourite chocolate beer OAT [work it out for yourselves] so Modus gets that award. Again the same biggest criticism between the 2 beers I just reviewed: They are limited release beers when really they should be brewed… well not year round as they’re winter beers, but at least seasonally and in the very least: Again! Modus has excelled here. 9/10.

Food match: Chateaubriand steak in demi-glace with shallots, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts.

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