Fat Ten-Er #3

Fat Ten-er # 3 (Milk Stout)
Growlette, 5.5% ABV

Secured and delivered by my man Jay

milkLate 2013 may as well have been called “Latte 2013.) So much local milk stout; from Relic’s La and Double Leche to Lasting Brass’s Santa’s Road Soda to (non-local but worth mentioning) Narragansett’s surprisingly delicious Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout. Oh, and New England Brewing’s plain ol’ milk stout as the third installment in their Fat Ten-Er series of one-offs.

Latte 2013 indeed.

I find it mildly interesting that NEBCO terms these 10 barrel one-offs as “experiments.” Many breweries would be throwing in jalepenos or coconut rinds or mustard seeds or something, but the guys in Woodbridge just keep plugging along with classic styles – more or less.

A session Belgian pale ale (#1), a straightforward yet perfect DIPA (#2) , a straightforward milk stout (#3) a west coast red ale (#4). NEBCO doesn’t want to be cute. They don’t need to be cute. When you’re on top, why change now? Just keep banging out some of the best beer around and stick to what you know.

It’s a milk stout.

Yeah, okay. We knew that. So what’s a milk stout? It’s basically a stout with unfermentable sugars, usually lactose, that adds sweetness and some creaminess and body to the beer. That sweetness sort of counters the roasty bitterness one expects from a stellar stout. I happen to rather enjoy that roasty, malty slight bitterness. As a result, milk stouts have always been good to me, but not better than a great stout.

This 3rd small batch “experiment” was pretty much the last beer brewed at NEBCO’s (now) old Selden Street brewery. They’ve moved across the street to much bigger digs to hopefully keep up with their much-deserved demand. By my unresearched guess, they are now at their 4th location.

amity-meatSo while I’m not one to reminisce, a small part of me was hoping they would go out with a bang. Wow me. Blow me away. Make me come to realize sweeter stouts have a bigger place in my world. Keep the record of A/A+ NEBCO beers going. Do it for Selden Street. Do it for Amity Meat. As it¹s one of their Fat Ten-Er series, do it for Luciano Pavarotti.

Open, pour, drink.

Nah, it¹s still a milk stout. And it¹s still a little ³off² to me. Oddly, it wasn¹t the added sweetness that did it, but rather a distinct tobacco taste. The sweetness was there of course, but it was beneath that sort of earthy tobacco roastiness. It was a tad off-putting.

Now, this growlette sat in my friend¹s fridge for a good 3 or 4 weeks until I could get it, so maybe it lost something in that time (doubtful). It wasn¹t bad by any means, just not mind-blowing as I¹ve come to expect from New England Brewing.

The tobacco undertones came to the fore as the beer warmed and it actually became a little distracting by the end of each glass. I must admit, my heart sank a bit ¬ and continue to sink as I write this.

Of the four (!) milk stouts I had in rapid fire succession in latte December, this was the worst of the lot. Insanity, I know. Especially when you consider one of them was from freaking ‘Gansett.

(Quick, go and read the other NEBCO review I wrote today, which was an A+ effort. The beer. Not my writing. Don’t be silly.)

Overall Rating: B-
Rating vs. Similar style: C

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