Lancaster Brewing’s Chocolate Milk Stout A Sweet Take On Beer
Chocolate stouts are the style that got me into drinking beer so many years ago. It was a far cry from anything else I’d had, and that mix of bitter and sweet hit me just right. That first one I drank was quite sweet. While I can still appreciate that, my preferences have shifted toward the more subdued. This week, however, I’ve decided to throw subdued to the wind. It’s time for Lancaster Brewing Co.’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout.
Just to keep with the nostalgia, Lancaster was one of the breweries I was excited about in my early days of beer drinking. That first chocolate stout I had turned me on to the style as a whole, leading me to Lancaster’s milk stout, which boggled my mind at the time. A beer? Made with milk? Yes, they contain unfermentable lactose, which gives them a creamy body and mouth feel. No, I don’t necessarily understand that process. I do know that it provides a unique and fun drinking experience.
Lancaster brews its double milk stout with cocoa nibs, basically chocolate that is only partially processed. They are a stop along the way in making chocolate from a bean to a bar. Like a stout, they are roasted and fermented. They pack a lot of chocolate taste for their size. This isn’t like a sweet Hershey bar, either, but rather more like unsweetened dark chocolate or baking chocolate. Lactose is a milk sugar, however, so it should add a bit of sweetness.
The pour of the brew didn’t have any surprises. It’s a thick stout. The color was an impenetrable black, topped with just a hint of tan foam that dissipated quickly. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass, which isn’t uncommon in these thick beers. In truth, it wasn’t really discernible from any other stout in the way of looks.
The scent was another story, however. That sweet, roasted chocolate blended oh so well with the roasted malt. Some sweetness definitely was going on. To say it smelled like chocolate milk isn’t quite right, but it was close. It had a bit more of a grown-up quality to the scent than that, as if chocolate milk was going on a classy date in its 20s.
It tasted pretty much as it should have. The roasted malt really carried its weight here, providing a good dose of bitter, essential in both offsetting and tying together the brew’s other qualities. While it had some sweetness, the malt took the chocolate in more of a savory direction. It was pleasant in that it wasn’t intensely sweet, but it was intensely chocolatey. The milk sugars also were present, and while noticeable in the taste, I certainly felt that it was more noticeable in the mouth feel.
I didn’t really find any surprises here. That said, it was a well-executed beer that did exactly what it set out to do. It weighs in at a 6.8 percent ABV, which isn’t bad. Because of its richness and how thick it is, I don’t know that I’d want to drink more than one in a sitting. Just like chocolate milk, there is an upward limit to how much of it you can drink and still feel OK about yourself. After having just this one, however, I’m feeling pretty dang good.