311. Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto)

311. Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout (Lacto)

The orange owl on the Hitachino Nest logo has always caught my eye, but I've avoided picking one up because my experiences with Japanese beer have consisted of substandard macro-esque lagers. I decided to pick this one up at Downtown Wine & Spirits today on a whim. This was unrefrigerated so I chilled it in the fridge for about 30 minutes (serving temp 50-55ºF) before serving it in a San Francisco Brewing Company pint glass.

This is a Sweet (Milk) Stout. Sweet stouts contain more unfermented sugars than regular stouts in an attempt to balance the roasted flavors that come from use of heavily kilned barley. Milk stouts (sometimes called cream stouts) contain milk sugars, which cannot be fermented by yeast, adding sweetness to the beer. These beers tend to have low alcohol content since not all sugars are fermented. This one is 3.9%.

Appearance (4.5): This beer is very dark brown, nearing black. There is an evident haziness when pouring. A thick beige head that slowly dissipates tops the beer.

Smell (2.5): There's a slight sharpness, but most evident is a sweet aroma and some roasted coffee notes. The interplay of the sweetness and the roasted aromas creates an odd smell.

Taste (3.0): It's malty and sweet at the center of the palate. The sweetness fades into a roasted, almost coffeeish, bitterness at the end. There's an odd flavor here that I can't place. Bitterness from hops is hard to detect.

Mouthfeel (3): There is a tingle of carbonation up front, but otherwise the beer feels very thick, almost viscous.

Drinkability (2.5): This is a really heavy beer, it would be good for pairing with food, but on its own it's somewhat overpowering.

Overall (3.15): The sweetness is a little too much. There are roasted flavors, but rather than providing balance the milk sugars overpower them.

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