Bruny Island Whey Stout

Total Score: 8.25/10  Chocolate1Coffee1Pear1Nonicpint1

Yes, Jeremy! I finally got around to reviewing a Bruny Island beer dammit! This was Jeremy’s suggestion. Who’s Jeremy? A guy that sells me beer, you could say that he is a proprietor of a certain establishment colloquially known as a “bottle-shop”, weird huh? Anyhow he’s been bigging-up Bruny Island ever since he visited Tasmania and became the only supplier of their beers in Brisbane. So what’s a Bruny Island? An island in Tasmania. Next question. What makes Bruny Island special? Glad you asked, well Bruny Island Beer Co actually make world-class cheese, the beer is a side project. This Whey Stout is made with whey left over from cheese-making, and if I know whey: it’s thick stuff – theoretically this brew should have plenty of body.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: I admit – I gave this a bit of a hard pour – like a Moroccan merchant pours green tea into a glass, admittedly beer doesn’t take that sort of behaviour lightly. 20 minutes later: Presents a deep opaque cola brown body with a now thinning 1 centimetre khaki head that looks a bit cappuccino foam-like. 7/10.

S: Is that an Acetate note in a Stout? Weirdly yes. Sweet pear esters mix with light milk chocolate notes in what is one of the most bizarrely pleasing beer aromas ever conjured up in a Stout by any brewer. Colour me very intrigued. Roasty notes linger in the background as well. This is one interesting Stout (mainly for those pear esters) it’s like a pear tart with a chocolate ganache, mmmm. 9/10.

T: Woah, this is a tasty brew. Hits the palate with a campfire smoke that lingers on well after the sun has dawned. That pear ester character has dropped back in the flavour as a minor player to those old Stout favourites: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and earthy notes. Finish is the only area that disappoints (and aftertaste as well as a consequence) with a herbal bitterness that pips a bit too close to the sun (i.e. it’s more bitter than I like for this style). 8/10.

M: Medium bodied, pretty decent heft – thick as thieves due to the whey no doubt, micro/dense carbonation, as full-bodied as I remember nitro Guinness being (back in the good old days) – top stuff here. 9/10.

D: Tis a tasty Stout aye, shame the aftertaste detracts from what could have been a near perfect brew. The smoke even has a peaty character to it as well, I love peat! (he’s a top accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter that is unique to natural areas called bogs, he is). 8/10.

Food match: What’s peat without a hearty Stu?

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Exit Brewing #015 Double Milk Stout

Total Score: 7.1/10 Chocolate1DarkFruits1Coffee1Tulipglass1

I hope Exit have a backup plan for their #000 numbering scheme – they’ve only got like another 983 beers before they tick over to 1000 😛 Seriously though, I’ve really been looking forward to this one since it came out and sat for a while at the back of my fridge, biding its time. For you see – their #003 Milk Stout is my favourite Aussie Milk Stout… admittedly that isn’t a style that is common in Aus, but anyway – it’s still a great Milk Stout. The only thing I’m wary about is how Imperial versions of great brews sometimes fall short of the original. Case in point: La Sirène Imperial Praline, which was a boozier, ergo less good (depending on how much of an alcoholic you are), version of La Sirène Praline. Well there’s only one way to find out if #015 lives up to #003 [the fun part!].

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: “You’re as black as ice (black ice), you’re willing to sacrifice our love”… deep, dark, ominous obsidian body, with some reasonable carbonation producing a thin tan head… TBH I would prefer to see less carbonation – for a Milk Stout needs to be dense and smooth, which the carbonation isn’t giving away here. 7/10.

S: Coffee prominent nose – roasted bean and red coffee cherries, a mingling of espresso and earthy filter coffee. Hints of bitter dark chocolate and a touch of smoke, quite bold and dark in character for a Milk Stout – #003 had a lot more range being sweeter and nuttier in the aroma. Not as much a fan of this one. 7/10.

T: Huh, the flavours aren’t so heavy into the dark/roasted aspects, also it’s sweeter than the aroma would lead one to believe. Flavours are: Milk and dark chocolate, coffee (espresso and filter), dark fruits as well (plum and prune hints), with a long dry finish that has a slight booze hit and a mild tobacco leaf astringency. Aftertaste lingers on with dark chocolate, liquorice and tobacco. Pretty tasty, BIG too, but my personal preference leans towards the flavour profile of #003 more. 7/10.

M: Medium bodied, definitely could use a bit more heft for an Imperial Milk Stout, with a thin, not-quite-dense carbonation. Yep, needs more body. 6/10.

D: Tasty brew, not quite reaching the glory of #003, sometimes it must be said that “bigger isn’t always better” and this is an example of that – #015 has a big sugar hit and a touch of booze in the finish that #003 didn’t have, so there’s that. Plus I don’t think Exit have doubled their #003, this tastes like different malts/hops were used, which is a pity because #003 was ace! 8/10.

Food match: Definitely made me think of cigars with that tobacco leaf character.

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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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