Its been a long time since any Milk Stout beer reviews have graced the electronic pages of The Brew Club, but that’s going to change today! Today, we have what many people consider the best Milk Stout available on tap. Its the Milk Stout from the Left Hand Brewing Company out in Longmont, Colorado!
I’ve actually tried the Left Hand Milk Stout some time ago as a part of a Milk Stout trading frenzy I engaged in with fellow beer blogger John from ‘The Beer Fathers‘. Way back then, this brew was pretty hard to find in New Jersey, so I thought it was pretty cool to get to try it, and even cooler that someone from across the country would send it to me! Now, thankfully, this beer is commonplace around these parts and I don’t need to request care packages from afar!
You won’t find the original review I wrote about the beer on The Brew Club. Nope. You’ll find it as a guest beer review I did for John (The Beer Fathers guy) when he needed some time away from the blog and I and a few other beer bloggers pitched in with a few guest beer reviews. Looking back at it, I think it was a good review and I hope you’ll go check it out too when you’re finished here!
I know a lot of people are really turned off by Milk Stouts. I can sort of understand why, but I think its mostly a misconception people have. There is no milk in a milk stout. There is, however, milk sugar (lactose) which is added at some point in the brewing process which gives the beer a distinctive sweet flavor. It isn’t like candy, and its no sweeter than some Belgian Ales I’ve tried. Just different.
I like stouts. If I was stranded on an island with one type of beer style, I’d pick the island that had a stout supply of stouts on hand. Milk Stouts are just a different variation of an already great beer style.
The Milk Stout from Left Hand, was, in my opinion the best of the batch I tried. The batch included Milk Stouts from Lancaster Brewing, Keegan Ales, Duck Rabbit and Kitachino Lacto. All were good and similar, but this one from Left Hand took the cake. Let’s revisit why!
Well, to start, the head on this particular pour was a little less than stellar. It was almost nonexistant which was a little different than what I remembered. Not a biggie, but hmmmm.
The aroma is classic cream stout! You get the expected ‘stuff’ that you might pick up in a stout like roasted malt, a little coffee, a little chocolate – but there’s a definite twist in this beer and its the lactose sugar. Yup, its an interesting sweetness that I find in the aroma – and I like it!
The taste is just fantastic! I love this beer and its perfect for the cooler months of the year. Yeah, its sweet, but as I’ve mentioned I’ve had sweeteer beers than this. (Some Belgians / Lambics come to mind) Its roasty, chocolaty and sweet, all at the same time. There’s also enough bitterness to keep this beer from going off the rails as some kind of weird dessert drink. It’s a solid beer, not gimmiky in any way.
Mouthfeel is great too. There’s some oatmeal in the mix as well (perhaps its technically an Oatmeal Milk Stout?) and I think the oatmeal not only mellows and blends the overall flavor profile of this beer, but I think it adds nicely to the creamy mouthfeel and very decent body this beer sports. This is not a watery beer!
Overall, I really like this beer from Left Hand. I’m happy that I can pick it up locally, but that being the case I just don’t think I’m quite as impressed with it as I was in early 2009. I’m not sure why. Maybe my tastes have changed a bit, but while I gave the Left Hand Milk Stout a solid four stars, I’m going to give it a 3.5 here today. Still an awfully good beer but I think I’m going to give the runner up Milk Stout from Lancaster Brewing another visit and see what I think.
How about you? A fan of the sweet stouts?