Over the last year or two, I’ve found myself leaning more towards the IPA styles of beers, particularly as the hop varieties have been played with, and all sorts of interesting flavors unfold. Before that, however, I was a “the darker the better” sort of a guy, and in the cold weather months, I tend to drift back to those stouts and porters. Given the amount of coffee I regularly consume, I was quite interested to see the Left Hand Nitro Imperial Coffee Milk Stout show up in a recent sampler we got in.
Of course, as I’ve covered in prior Left Hand reviews, I do have a soft spot for the brand, given that I’m also a lefty, and have family living in the town that Left Hand calls home. Still, doesn’t mean they couldn’t brew a clunker of a beer, right? Fortunately, they still haven’t. Their milk stout is a consistent winner, and it makes for a great base. Here, of course, that means adding in nitro (think of it like the fizzy that you get from a Guinness, if you’re not familiar) and my other favorite dark brew, coffee.
Left Hand says that the Left Hand Nitro Imperial Coffee Milk Stout should be “like a chocolate-covered espresso bean that melts in your mouth” and I’d have to agree with them. On the nose, I picked up the coffee, a roasty scent, as well as some chocolate. Once you sip it, I picked up the coffee right away, which then mellowed down to a flavor that I equated to the taste of a high-quality cake donut, with a mild sweetness. In fact, I settled on likening it to a “donut shop in a can”.
Often, an imperial stout (due to the higher ABV; 8.9% in this case) can taste really boozy, or have a really thick mouthfeel. Neither was the case with the Left Hand Nitro Imperial Coffee Milk Stout. The inclusion of nitro kept it smooth-sipping, while lifting it up from the flatness a stronger stout can have. And of course, 8.9% is nothing to sneeze at, so save this for a slow-sipper after dinner. Well, that is, if you can find it. It’s a winter release beer, and their website lists it as being back in December 2021. So, remember for then, or scour your local shop to see if they’ve still got some from this year kicking about. lefthandbrewing.com
Details from Left Hand Brewing
- STYLE: Imperial Coffee Milk Stout
- ABV: 8.9%
- IBU: 36
- COLOR: Black
- GLASS: Tulip Glass
- MALT: 2-Row, Crystal, Munich, Chocolate, Carafa III Special, Rolled Oats, Flaked Barley
- HOPS: Zeus, Goldings
- OTHER: Allegro Coffee