AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20Chad9976 (1533) - Orlando, Florida, USA - JAN 5, 2016
I see the words chocolate and stout on a beer label I tend to get
pretty excited since some of my all-time favorite beers have been
chocolate stouts. But there’s no guarantee a stout brewed with chocolate
is an automatic success as Barley Mow Maven proves. Not that it’s a bad
beer; in fact, it’s a fine milk stout (stylistically speaking) but I’d
like it to be more than just fine.
I poured a 12oz can into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date. It cost $2.39 ($0.20 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark brown/black hue with mahogany edges. Pours to a small,
tan, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves a trace amount of
Smell: Familiar milk stout aroma of lactose sugar and dark malt. No chocolate or candy notes, though.
Taste: If this beer hadn’t been marketed as a “chocolate milk stout” I’d
probably peg it as just a milk stout and that’s it. And as far as the
style goes it’s pretty much to spec. That lactose sugar comes through in
the form of mouthfeel as well as additional sweetness. Dark maltiness
for sure, but not much in the way of intense deeply roasted and bitter
flavor. Sure there’s some coffee notes right on the finish, but that’s
about it. As for chocolate, well, it does have a slight dark chocolate
flavor – which probably accounts for the bitterness at the end – but
nothing in the way of sweet candy of confectionery taste. That’s because
“chocolate” as we know it is actually vanilla; an ingredient not
present here. Still, the cocoa nibs provide for a light spicy sensation,
which is nice, but not especially delicious.
Drinkability: I figured Barley Mow Maven would be a relatively light,
sessionable beer, as many milk stouts tend to be. But it’s actually
rather strong at 6.5% ABV, but does not have the body to support it. The
mouthfeel is thin and low in carbonation; reminiscent of soda going
flat. It is at least very smooth going down and it finishes almost
completely clean… but should it?