Due to extreme amounts of laziness, I was not able to acquire another new beer for today. So, this review is the second (and last) of my Portsmouth Brewery beers. I picked it up yesterday as well, so you know it's got to be pretty fresh beer.
It occurs to me that some people may not know what a milk stout is. A stout is a really, really basic style of beer. The homebrew recipes are usually pretty dumb - a bunch of dark malt extract, a bunch of black malt, perhaps some chocolate and other dark malts, enough hops to not make it sickeningly sweet. That does not make for a very exciting beer, at least not in my opinion. The roast ends up being the predominant flavor. Over time, people have come up with various things to do to stouts to make them more interesting. Adding chocolate (either malt or the real thing) makes a chocolate stout. Adding flaked oats makes an oatmeal stout. These add extra flavors while keeping the basic stout richness and fullness. A milk stout is similar, except that lactic acid is added instead of some additional grain.
The milk stout pours dark, dark black with a thin brown head that dissipates almost immediately. Instead of being the brick bat of ROASTY! that I got from a stout at the beginning of this week, this beer's roasty aroma is quite well tempered though it is still the predominant aroma. It's more like the edge has been taken off.
The flavor is tangy and roasty, quite reminiscent of Guinness. Unlike Guinness, however, there's more than just one flavor going on here to keep me interested in the rest of the glass. Some nondescript hops variety provides a bit of balance to the malt and lactose that threatens to oversweeten the beer. Hops are never really the focus of a stout anyway so it's not at all important what they are. It's a thick and creamy feeling beer but not overly heavy. Once again, I do not know the ABV but it feels stronger than the XX Bitter from last night. This milk stout is a supremely smooth, easy-to-drink beer. I can easily imagine enjoying several of these in a night much like others might drink their boring import stouts.
I suppose I could talk and talk about this beer all night, or I could quit here and enjoy the rest of my glass. I think Portsmouth Brewery has a winner here, and I'm looking forward to going back to try a couple more of their brews. Now if you will excuse me...