It's an out-of-focus effort from my camera, I know, but the best shot was taken when Willow was in frame and she was unimpressed with this fact! I just think it's come to a rather sad moment when I'm taking pictures with my camera of the beer I'm drinking in order to review it here. *sigh*
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The first thing that strikes you, as the picture shows, is that head! I mean, wow! I have some pictures that show that head filling almost half the glass and I was being very careful indeed in pouring so that there shouldn't have been much of a head at all. When some of it inevitably escaped the glass and ended up on some paper I found out that there was very little of the ale itself that was lost in the process, so that's a plus. And the picture shows that the head did not waste much of the lovely dark stout that came out - what was left in the bottle easily topped up the pint glass when that head had died down. Still, you can't help but admire that head.
Once that calms down there's an almost relaxed carbonation in this 5% ABV milk stout, with its dark and mysterious colouring and liquorice aroma. Puts one in mind of whiskey or schnapps chocolates or the hot chocolates that you slip alcohol into in texture as the first sip is taken so it is no surprise that there is a hint of chocolate in the taste too but this is dominated by the milky texture and the definite stout taste. Hops lurk in the bubbles so that they arrive after the texture has set in and instantly add the bitterness to the brew but the resultant aftertaste is mellow along the lines of a good Irish cream.
Overall, I am pleased to report that this did not disappoint my long wait but it is not as good as The Mild Side (here) by the same brewery and, being nowhere near as strong as Lion (here), it didn't have the effect of laying me out, always a plus. The fizz is just the wrong side of being present to actually augment the creamy nature of this stout and so it falls short of the Imperial Russian Stout (here) as well but nice nevertheless.
Enjoy this one with a lite lunch if you're not going back to work afterwards. Take time to let it pour gently and settle and rise to room temperature before taking polite sips over a long period of time. Eat slowly, enjoy the experience, and savour that milky texture which is far better than it sounds. Well worth seeking out and giving a go if stout is your thing and I have a feeling it's the drink of an old retired miner or mill worker.