05 April 2008

Left Hand Milk Stout/Black Jack Porter (CO)

The last two from the Left Hand mixed pack, and possibly my last taste of these styles for months.

Milk Stout: This is my favorite of the four, although you probably need a bit of a sweet tooth to enjoy it. Wikipedia tells us this about milk stouts:

Milk stout (also called sweet stout or cream stout) is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer. Contemporary labeling standards in place since prevent the use of the term in the UK. The classic example of sweet stout is Mackeson's XXX.

So they'd have to re-name this if exported to Britain, I suppose. Left Hand's offering is wonderfully rich and creamy. If it's coffee, it is cafe au lait or latte or something. If Starbucks sold beer, this might be the one. I don't want to go too far in proclaiming it's sweetness, however, as the roastiness does keep it in check a bit. Still, this isn't a Guinness clone, and it's all the better for it.

Black Jack Porter: Higher in ABV than the Milk Stout (6.3% vs. 5.3%), the body proves to be less creamy, lighter and fizzier than the stout. A dry porter would nicely complement the Milk Stout, but the first couple bottles of this I had struck me as perhaps being a bit too much. Roasted chocolate malts are in the forefront, and there's some bitterness at the end. But Black Jack isn't as dry or clean finishing as I would have liked. Maybe this is an issue of me wanting it to be something else. Also, my expectations were raised after drinking the Milk Stout, which is the one to get.

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