Friday, July 11, 2008

BEER REVIEW: Duck Rabbit Milk Stout

Stout is a dark beer made with roasted malts or roast barley. A lot of people consider them almost too bitter to enjoy, and others can’t handle the chewy heaviness of a good stout. I don’t mind a good stout in moderation. I can’t have too many of them or have it too often, but occasionally it’s a wonderful treat. In my many moons as a consumer of adult beverages, I have tried more than just a couple of stouts.

I’ve tried Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Sam Adams Cream Stout, Beamish Stout, Sea Dog Stout, Saranac Oatmeal Stout, Saranac Mocha Stout, Black Cat Stout from the Portsmouth Brewery, and of course the ubiquitous Guinness. Now I can add another one to the mix: Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout.

By their own label’s description, “The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is a traditional full-bodied stout brewed with lactose (milk sugar). The subtle sweetness imparted by the lactose balances the sharpness of the highly roasted grains which give this delicious beer its black color.” They ain’t lying, friends.

Milk stouts, sometimes called cream stouts, are as old as stout itself, and generally carry a slightly lower alcohol content than their brethrens of the stout kingdom. Milk stouts contain lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by the yeast used in beer brewing, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer.

Duck Rabbit is a small craft brewery in Farmville, North Carolina. Admittedly, I’d never heard of it before Monday, but I do love a good craft brew and am generally willing to try new things and to suport small brewers when I can. I bought the Duck Rabbit at Total Wine & More over in West Ashley, who had it available in 6-packs and also by the individual bottle. I opted for the individual, just to make sure I wasn’t stuck with something that tasted like butt. I only do stouts occasionally….

It poured out like a smooth bit of Heaven into my frosted pint glass. I must have poured it expertly; that, or there was a minimal head to the beer. Unlike Guinness, which heads up so much anytime I have it that you have to wait 10 minutes just to enjoy your beer. Dark as night, it looked almost foreboding, yet enticing at the same time.

You could smell the roasted malts, and there was no denying that it looked and smelled like a stout. The taste was creamy and lacked that characteristic ash-tray bitterness usually associated with stouts. It was just bitter enough, without being overpowering and just chewy enough to be full-bodied and satisfying without being a heavy meal unto itself. It went down FAST. Before I knew it, the glass was gone, and I was a bit sad that I didn’t have more.

If you live in the Carolinas and like a good beer, go out and find this at the soonest possible juncture. For more information, check out

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