Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Got Milk Stout?

In Ottawa, we're lucky to have a couple of good brew pubs in the area. We have The Clocktower, Ashton Brew Pub, and, in Gatineau, BDT. And, of course, there's my favourite brew pub, Mill Street.

But the closest brew pub to my place, which offers some great suds, is Big Rig Brewery, near the IKEA at Pinecrest and Iris. For months, my Twitter friends and I would meet at Big Rig for Thursday Pints, a weekly gathering, but of late we've moved around a bit. I think that's a good idea, as we always look for locations that have good craft beer, and by moving around we can mix it up a bit.

And, while I think Big Rig's IPA is one of the best in the city, I find the majority of their other selections to be good, but nothing to get excited about. Sure, last fall's pumpkin stout was interesting, but it didn't leave me craving it. I didn't even add it to my review of the season's pumpkin ales.

So, when the brewery announced last week that it was releasing another seasonal, a milk stout, I immediately looked forward to it, but had some reservations. I approached the pub, hopeful, but was determined not to set myself up for disappointment.

You see, I love milk stouts. My favourite milk stout, by The Duck Rabbit, is not only my favourite milk stout but is also my favourite beer. Ever.

I also love the milk stout by Québec microbrewers, Charlevoix, so I have expectations when it comes to milk stout. Big Rig had some pretty big boots to fill.
Double-Chocolate Milk Stout (6.5% ABV)
Big Rig Brewery
Ottawa ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: deep walnut with a taupe head that dissipates to a fine lace.

Nose: because the beer was served cold... far too cold for a stout... the nose was closed, but I could, over time, detect faint traces of chocolate.

Palate: dark chocolate and coffee with a creaminess that doesn't particularly exude richness but is easy-drinking. A raisin finish, almost like sour hops, that is typical with the other milk stouts I've had. The finish ends somewhat watery.

Overall impression: I really had trouble tasting this stout and it all came down to the fact that it was too cold. I suppose that if I waited long enough, the warming would have brought out more in the nose and on the palate. But being that I was sharing company over just the one pint, as I assume many people will experience with visiting a brew pub, I didn't have the time to wait, nor did I feel that anyone should wait so long after receiving a drink to actually enjoy it.

It took me more than a half an hour to finish this pint, and with every sip I held it in my mouth, hoping it would warm enough to pull flavour. There is good chocolate and coffee, but I was disappointed about the thin finish.

It's a good effort, but I wanted more.

If you like stouts, chocolate stouts, or milk stouts, this seasonal is worth trying. If you drool at the prospect of a great milk stout, this one, while good, is a bit disappointing for the temperature and finish.


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