From the Brewery:
“From imperial stouts to IPAs, we’ve discovered the tantalizingly roasty lift that comes from adding coffee beans to just about any kind of beer. This English-style milk stout, originally a limited-edition offering at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, proved the perfect foil for beans from San Diego-based Ryan Bros Coffee. The bitterness of the coffee is balanced out brilliantly by the milk sugar we used to add a touch of sweetness and creaminess to the stout’s smooth, easy-drinking texture. Cheers to the coalescence of two highly artisanal (and delectable) mediums.”
5.0% ABV Milk Stout
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Libbey Stout glass. The body is solid black. A foamy, dark-brown head thins quickly to a light covering that leaves minimal lacing. Normally on smaller-ish stouts, some ruby-red highlights can be seen around the edges, but not so in this one.
At the forefront of the aroma is coffee, as expected. The coffee has two facets – both cold pressed aromatic smoothness, and a bit of a more harsh ashy, smokey, spent coffee ground nature. There are undertones of milk chocolate and toasted grain.
Medium-thin bodied, goes down with a fair amount of roasted coffee bitterness. The flavors of coffee, milk chocolate and toasted grain are accompanied by a creamy sweetness the lactose adds to the mouthfeel. The finish is artfully balanced between the roasty coffee and creamy sweetness. It is a very drinkable stout.
I first had Stone’s Coffee Milk Stout during last year’s initial bottle release, during what you could call my beer reviewing sabbatical. I liked it plenty when it came out, but this year’s version I’m pretty close to loving. Bumping up the ABV from 4.2% to 5% has given it some more body and balance, while retaining its sessionable mouthfeel and great combination of flavors. I love coffee, and I love cream stouts, so this beer is a no-brainer win for me. I only wish this were a year-round offering. Well done again, Stone Brewing! 9/10
Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, California