Feature photo by ryawesome
There are some times I go to the liquor store with a beer in mind. I know what I’m looking for; I know what I have a taste for. There are other times where I wander for up to an hour just waiting to see something that tickles my fancy. This month’s beer falls into the latter category. I walked into my local Binny’s, and to my surprise I found a whole end-cap advertising Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout on nitro.
Left Hand has been making their milk stout for quite some time, but only recently did they start packaging their bottles with nitrogen. No longer do you have to drink their delicious stout simply on carbonation.
You see, nitrogen has a very hard time staying dissolved in a liquid. Because of this, the nitrogen escapes very quickly and also unsettles much of the carbonation that is in the liquid. This quick escape of gases produces a very thick and creamy head. It also produces a beer that has a much softer carbonation.
This beer should be poured into a pint glass with a bit of force. I like to simply put my glass on a table and turn the bottle upside-down in the glass. Don’t worry; it won’t overfill the glass if you do it right. once you empty the bottle, sit back for a few minutes and watch the dance. Since this beer has nitrogen in the gas mixture, the bubbles cascade in the glass until it creates a thick white head that sets a very defined line against the jet black liquid.
This beer smells of caramel and chocolate. It tastes very much the same, but the velvety mouthfeel is where this beer shines. It is brewed using lactose sugar which is unfermentable. since lactose sugar is not sweet. And it’s the perfect choice to use for producing a beer with great body…that is, unless you are lactose intolerant. The thickness complements the roasty, chocolaty flavors in the glass.
Left Hand’s Milk Stout comes in at a perfect 6% — not so big that you can’t have too many and not too light that you really want to session it. And it is a little more sweet than other beers, so it makes a great complement to a chocolate dessert. If you want to try another example of the style, I’d recommend Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout or Cigar City Cubano-Style Brown Ale.