The original one gallon batch of Curly’s Milk Stout was an amalgam of a quintessential example of the style: Mackeson XXX Stout, the most popular contemporary example: Left Hand Milk Stout, and other ingredients I like to use in porters and stouts. The beer more than met my modest expectations. It was a cruel twist of fate I only had a gallon to show for my efforts.
I couldn’t believe until I checked my notes that I brewed the original batch February 23, 2014. As I brewed and prepared to drink the second batch of what I hoped to be a flagship beer I was concerned that perhaps the beer was not as good as I remember? Would the minor changes I made make the beer better?
The beer pours dark brown and completely opaque. The head is light tan like a regular coffee from Dunkin Donuts. The head retention is not particularly great, but that could be the glass I was using.
The distinctive esters from the Burton Ale yeast are prominent in the aroma. The fruit and honey notes of the yeast blend perfectly with light toffee and cream notes. There is enough hop aroma and and roast in the grist to provide balance.
The flavor starts out tasting like milk chocolate. It is sweet and chocolaty, then a slight roasted malt character leads to a dry and almost smokey. Hop bitterness is sufficient to provide balance. The beer pushes the envelope in terms of hop flavor. The mint flavor from Northern Brewer hops in the first batch was almost distracting. I didn’t want the beer to taste like a peppermint patty. By boiling the Northern Brewer just a bit longer this character is much more restrained. It adds complexity without dominating. The late addition of Fuggles combine with the roasted barley to make the beer finish almost like a Dry (Irish) Stout.
At this point I’d say the beer came out how I wanted it to. I plan on entering the beer in the National Homebrew Competition and am interested in the kind of feedback I get from the judges.