Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ska Steel Toe Stout review

Ska Steel Toe Stout - Working class milk stoutSometimes I can't wait for the colder weather for a dark beer. I recently picked up a variety 12-pack from Ska Brewing and didn't want to wait any longer to try their Ska Steel Toe Stout, a "working class" milk stout. The "Best By" date on the bottle was August 27, 2012 so I only had 1 more day to try this beer before the intended freshness had worn off.

Steel Toe Stout is considered one of Ska Brewing's Flagship Brews and was made with milk sugar and was fashioned after an English Cream Stout. The beer itself has around 5.4% ABV and a modest 29 IBU. Ska states that this brew should have a latte frothy head and should be creamy and sweet. They suggest pairing this with chocolate and/or ice cream or perhaps even a Tiramisu or a chocolate and fruit dessert.

I've only had 2 other milk stouts, both were from Left Hand Brewing (regular Milk Stout and Nitro Milk Stout) and I remember that milk stouts tend to be a bit more sweet than dry stouts. How would this brew stack up against the rest?

Appearance: Ska's Steel Toe Stout came out of the bottle looking nearly black with some mahogany colors near the edges of the glass. The beer was low to moderately carbonated and only built up a small 1 finger-tall brown head. The head wasn't very frothy looking even with a semi-aggressive pour. As the beer warmed, the head and lacing seemed to disappear.

Aroma: Almost immediately, I could pick up on a coffee like aroma, plus the addition of something rather sweet in the glass. Ska states this is like a coffee, sugar and cream and I've have to agree with them. It's very pleasant to sniff, but I was more interested in its taste.

Taste: The brew started off sweet with hints of coffee and chocolate in the malts. Hops took a back seat in this brew as they should. It was just bitter enough to keep the beer from being too sweet. In other milk stouts the milk sugar and almost have a off-flavor, but not Steel Toe Stout. Yes, the milk sugar was noticeable, but it didn't detract from the roasty sweet goodness that should be there. The beer had a medium-body and didn't dry out like regular stouts.

Overall: From start to finish, this was a milk stout that I could get into. I'd rate this one higher than the Left Hand Milk Stout as the milk sugar blended better with this brew than in the other. The full flavor came out well as the beer warmed. And despite not having much of a head, it was still a noteworthy beer and something I would enjoy having again. It's a beer that makes me look forward to those cooler days where dark beers are more the norm. Hurry up Fall and Winter!

Disclosure: I paid retail price for this beer as part of a variety 12-pack from Ska Brewing that was on sale.

Video showing the pour of a Ska Steel Toe Stout:

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Related articles:
- Ska Modus Hoperandi review.
- Ska Ten Pin Porter review.
- Left Hand Milk Stout review.

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