After another tiring week and not being able to have much of a weekend before it, I was well and truly ready to do very little at the end of it. However, after a crisis call during the week, I had to try and rework Goat to make it for another lawn-mowing Friday. At least with three of us, I found it good to smash through it pretty quickly, so I could still run an errand for my bro (while he is away on his honeymoon) and do some beer shopping with Stass after work.
Amazingly, feeling somewhat half awake after this and knowing Biero had a Vanilla Milk Stout on their taps, Stass got me into the city so we could check it out. Must have been funny seeing two guys in shirts with a landscaping logo on it in a concrete-filled city, and drinking a stout on a hot summer day, still it is a double contradiction I am happy to live with as the Thirsty Crow Jiminy Cricket Vanilla Milk Stout was well worth a try.
It poured with a translucent-edged dark brown colour with a slight brown tinge in the creamy head as well. Couldn't get much aroma at the beginning, but some slight high noted sweetness from the vanilla. Upon tasting though, we both delighted in the sweet vanilla flavour, and what I get as an alkaliny powdered lactose just after it, but generally mixed in well to help meld the flavours together on the front and midpalate. Stass smashed his a bit too quickly, so when it really sweetened up with time and warmth, he had very little of it left to enjoy. For me it got to a stage where the vanilla sweetness started creeping up the inside of my cheeks. which of course I personally enjoyed. I was happy to find that the beer did not sit too heavy on the tongue or gut, which is interesting to find in a milk stout, but while I coats your tongue generously with each sip, the almost refined sweetness of the vanilla keeps it almost refreshing in a way. The brewer has done very well in doing this and blending the lactose and vanilla flavours in this beer. I'd like to understand the base beer behind it more, and how they were able to integrate these two additional flavours above it in this fashion. It had me wanting to go back to trying at another homebrew choc/vanilla stout, or bringing in some brown sugar to get some caramel...unfortunately I think there would be too much sweetness to even pick up the different flavours in something like that. With warmth the alkaline did diminish a bit as well, so the vanilla really took over the tastebuds.
Seeing this was Stass's first visit to Biero, he was excited to try a few other beers on the menu (and on my recommendation, the pork sandwich). Seeing we had been shopping for a few smokey/peaty beers, seeing a Mash Smokey Amber Ale, we had to give that a go. I would say it looked more golden and amber and was pretty clean (maybe I am use to have wheat based smoked beers). Unlike the Vanilla Milk Stout, we found this one was better cold, as the smoke is very much on the fringe in terms of aroma and taste. The level of smoke melded better with the malt while it was cold, and would be a great beer for anyone that has never had a smoke beer before as an introduction to the style. However, as expected, when it warmed up the sweetness of the malt really took over, and the smoke was left to be simply on the sides of the back palate to clean up the sweetness.
I did make sure to keep some of the Vanilla Milk Stout for after this, but had to hold off again when Stass eyed the Mikkeller 1000 IBU, which I was surprised he hadn't tried before. Seeing he was driving he just had a taster of it, but that was enough. I mean, they have tried to have some up-front sweetness to help bring some balance of flavour, but if anything it sets you up for a bigger fall when to bitterness kicks in just off the tip of your tongue. I was surprised that it didn't offend me as much as when I had tried it previously, but then previously I was halfway through a beer tasting, so I probably reacted a bit more to it in that situation. Still, the dry bitterness just sits and stays in aftertaste, and learnt quickly not to let it sit on your tongue for too long.
Trying to end on the last of the Vanilla Milk Stout just spun my tastebuds out of control as the massive sweetness up front still wasn't enough to remove the bitterness left from the 10000 IBU. At that I started to flake and so we left, so I could tipsily and tiredly get the tram home to crash and start relaxing for the weekend.
I look forward to doing very little this weekend, even in terms of tasting beer...I know, tough times...