Just as October brings pumpkin spice in your glass, December means “fun” ingredients like cinnamon and gingerbread and juniper. I’ll get to some of those brews before the 25th, but this Sunday, it's a seasonal milk stout from Terrapin Beer in Athens, GA, flavored with cocoa shells, cocoa nibs, and a bit of vanilla.
I'd like to embed a clip from Terrapin's Head Brewer here, but it's hidden on the YouTube channel even tho it plays on Terrapin's own site. If you really feel it's worth it, cut and paste this ... youtu.be/0wDwcHLk6v4
So you’re new to milk stouts? They’re dark and roasty like “regular” stouts such as Guinness. The twist is that lactose (aka milk sugar) is added early on, a sugar that yeast can’t digest into alcohol and bubbles. The result is milk stouts come out sweeter and thicker. Adding cocoa is Terrapin's twist.
On the pour, Moo-Hoo is impenetrably dark with a tan frothy head like a root beer float. You can smell both the dark-roasted grain and the cocoa sweetness. The chocolate flavor is right up front, but also a smoky something is pushing its way through the coffee roastiness.
Sure, it’s a novelty to add chocolate to a milk stout, but someone had to be the first to make sour-cream-and-onion potato chips too. The chocolate flavor is very integrated here, not gimmicky, and the dairy sweetness and mouthfeel aren't overpowering or syrupy as they can be in some other milk stouts.
Moo-Hoo is a little heavy for a night of pints, but a bottle would fit right along side a spicy winter chili. You could also try it as dessert beer. I know some genius must have already floated a scoop of vanilla in a pint glass. You know what? Check back later tonight ... (ALC 6%)