The milk stout has had plenty of time to sit and mature in the barrel now. So I gave it a taste today. There is still a bit of carbonation, but I think that I under primed it (I am cautious with this after a few issues) and much of the yeast I had left in the be was probably on its last legs after a three and a half week ferment.
It pours a dark, black/brown, with a thinnish tan head. On the nose, there is a bit of hop, but this is mainly roasted grains, almost burned toast. Tasting it, I am first struck by its creaminess, perhaps from the body the lactose gives it, but I know that the flaked grains often give a good texture to the beer. It is soft and bitter, as Mackeson's is, with the majority of balance coming from the roasted grains, and this is mainly dark chocolate and coffee, rather than the liquorice you get in some stouts. The roasted grain taste does linger, but does not kill the palate, which I have had in previous darks. I think the sweetness helps here.
But, not really a session beer; there's just a bit too much going on. So, what to do with 9 litres of the stuff? Well, I think this beer suits the unseasonably cold weather at the moment, and, with the addition of some crisps, nuts, or scratchings, this would be a great in-front-of-the-TV beer. But even I can't think this cold snap will go on for ever. Therefore, I needed another use for this.
I do, occasionally, get taken with baking bread. I love it, but I'm just not that good at it. Inspired by Paul Hollywood's new series on bread, I tried his basic bloomer, which came out amazingly well. So, this morning, I started his rye, ale, and oat loaf. The recipe just calls for ale, and uses black treacle. But I have used my stout in this, and, boy, it honks of dark beer....hope this isn't overkill. It looks very dark, and smells amazing. We have a bit of cheddar and a pot of Stilton still to finish from Christmas....maybe a few salad things, and some chutney, a cheese ploughman's tea looks on the cards!