3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Milk stouts are often an overlooked gem of the craft beer community. They’ve got more flavor than a dry stout and are much more drinkable than the imperial versions. If you want a milk stout brewed with a bit of authority try Moo Thunder by Butternuts Beer & Ale. After all, this brewery is literally located within a former dairy barn - surely some of that knowledge of milk has carried over, right?
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz can into a Victorian pint glass. I was pleasantly surprised to see this beer produce a thick, foamy, off-white head (but a little disappointed at how quickly it dissipated and how little lacing it left on the glass). It has the appearance you come to expect from a stout: jet black with a touch of ruby red highlights around the edges.
The aroma is mild but rather complex with a distinct roasted malt scent as well as a touch of chocolate sweetness and a general "dairy-like" smell (like when you walk down the dairy aisle at the supermarket).
Much like the aroma, the palate to Moo Thunder is mild but surprisingly multi-dimensional. Up front I’m hit with a dairy-like sweetness like chocolate milk (that’s chocolate milk, not milk chocolate). The roasted malts show up in the background and make for a gentle, but noticeable, bitterness. It’s akin to burnt chocolate or maybe even burnt toast but without the intense carbon flavor. The aftertaste is rather sweet, a little milky, but also a little sour.
What I didn’t like was how the palate seemed to diminish in flavor as I finished the beer. There is very little carbonation here so the flatness of the body seems to keep the flavors subdued. Perhaps a more lively body would lead to a more robust taste. Not that it’s bad, just that the beer doesn’t live up to its potential. Overall, the notes I do detect are good, I just wish there were more of them.
Due to the fairly mild palate and the flatness of the body, Moo Thunder is a highly drinkable beer. In fact, it’s one of the most quaffable stouts I’ve ever encountered. The lack of bitterness to the mouthfeel combined with the slight sweetness makes it as easy to slug down as flat soda. Although, the lack of intensity to the body also makes it seem a little watery - but this is standard for a milk stout.
At only 4.9% ABV it’s also a highly sessionable beer. It would accompany dark meats very well or pair it with any kind of milk chocolate dessert.
Moo Thunder is a satisfying beer and it’s one of those rare instances where having a mild palate actually is an attribute since it’s more drinker-friendly that way. I’d always prefer something more robust, but I think Butternuts intends for this beer to be a satisfying, easy-to-drink stout and if that’s the case I’d say they’ve succeeded.