I must begin this review by openly admitting that I find flavored beers to be gimmicky and juvenile. Alright, so maybe that statement sounded stronger than I meant it to. After all, I do enjoy a good coffee stout, and I find ales brewed with chili peppers to be innovative and interesting. I think my one beef is with beers that try to add multiple flavors, not just as a sort of culinary brewing additive, but as true food flavors. I reckon it to Starbucks coffee. When I go to Starbucks, I order a cup of brewed coffee, or maybe a cappuccino from time to time. But most of what Starbucks sells is flavored, sweet, milky, whipped coffee beverages. It is coffee for people who don’t like coffee. After all, if you have to add sugar, flavoring, spices, and tons of whole milk to your coffee, then you probably just do not like the flavor of pure coffee.
Well, with beer, I tend to try to tread tepidly. After all, I want to promote the craft beer industry, and I am all for inventive brewers experimenting with all sorts of flavors. So when a brewery produces a peanut butter milk stout, I am a bit cautious. If you want a beer, drink a beer. If you want peanut butter and milk, drink a milkshake. But let’s give it a chance.
Belching Beaver Brewery is based in Vista, California (north of San Diego). The owners, Tom Vogel, and Dave Mobley, were friends who enjoyed home brewing, and felt that they wanted to pursue their own business venture instead of working for the Man. Today they work with Troy Smith, Marc Truex, Thomas Peters, Ivan Maldonado, and Sean Laidlaw. The brewery strives to produce high-quality, flavorful beers.
Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout (5.3% ABV) is, at its heart, a stout. This means that it uses dark roasted malted grains. But this stout has even more ingredients than you might imagine. According to the company: “Our Peanut Butter Milk Stout is simply irresistible. It’s like dark chocolate Reese’s in a glass! Rolled oats and Lactose add to the creamy body of this beer while heavenly aromas of roasted buttery peanuts and chocolate greet you with every sip. Try this out with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a real treat!” Rolled oats, lactose, peanuts and chocolate — is this a beer or a dessert at Applebee’s? Let’s see.
Everything On Tap Review: Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout:
Bottle: The bottle, made of black glass, protects the beer from sunlight.The label, etched on, is mostly gold in color. On top is a white logo with, yes, a belching beaver. The lettering is red and white.
Pour: The color is dark, midnight black and opaque. The head is half a finger thin and khaki. It dissipates at a moderate pace, resolving to a thin disc that leaves a ring and some lacing.
Aroma: The bouquet begins with sweet, dark-roasted malt, followed by the clear and present aromas of milky lactose, chocolate, and peanuts. The added flavors are almost overwhelming, masking the stout’s natural flavors.
Flavor: There is the expected sweet malt, with a faint background of yeasty bread. Other than that, the expected chocolate, peanut butter, and milk, dominate, without much other complexity. It is like eating a candy bar. Do you want this from a beer? I suppose every drinker will have to make that decision.
Mouthfeel: I found the mouthfeel to be heavy, with slight carbonation. It is like drinking sparkling syrup.
Structure: It is hard to decipher the structure, as the syrupy-sweetness of the additives tends to mask all else. The stout that is hiding underneath seems decent enough as it peeks its head through the heavy other flavors, but I simply could not tell if it were stable and broad or not.
Food Pairing: It would be a crime against nature to pair this stout with anything but a banana split, or any sort of dessert with peanuts and chocolate.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: