Beer Review 0011: Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

The Duck-Rabbit Brewery is another beer company located in my home state of North Carolina. This brewery specializes in dark beers, and according to their website, “When we brew, we’re happy and we dance; during fermentation, we sing softly to the yeast.”

Duck-Rabbit started selling beer in 2004, and the beverages can be found exclusively on the east coast, making this one hard to find for most people.

What exactly is a duck-rabbit? The founder of the company, Paul Philippon, taught philosophy and saw a diagram of a Duck-Rabbit (a figure that looks like a rabbit when looking from one perspective, a duck from the other) in a textbook and decided to use it in a logo as a connection to what he did before brewing.

The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is a traditional stout brewed with lactose, which is supposed to give balance to the sharpness of roasted grains. I poured a glass of this stout on January 28 to put it through scrutiny.

This beer pours a dark brown, almost black color that when held to light has a deep red tint. The head is large and tan but quickly diminishes, leaving behind a sticky lace that clings to the glass all the way until the last sip. It’s quite a nice looking beer by dark standards, especially with the reddish hue and excellent lacing.

The aromatics are dominated by a metallic/copper scent that I wouldn’t describe as offensive, but it’s definitely not a smell I would ever think when pondering beer. There in the background lie toasty malts, which give off aromas of chocolate and coffee. The smell is sweet and reminiscent of chocolate milk — kick the metal out and this would be a winner to the nose. Quite unfortunate.

When Milk Stout hit the palate, I was very surprised. Very surprised. It bears repeating. I had my doubts about this one, but the tasting senses were immediately rewarded by those perfectly roasted malts, delivering a powerful chocolatey and coffee burst with just a hint of smoke. The finish is very toasty and on the exhale imparts a sweet chocolate milk flavor that is just plain lovely.

The best part? This beer is perfectly balanced, and I don’t hesitate when I say ‘perfectly.’ It’s neither too sweet or too toasty, and it’s remarkably light to be a dark beer, which leads me to believe I would be quite happy to quaff this 5.7% alcohol by volume (ABV) liquid all evening long.

Color me impressed. Further down the glass, that chocolate milk thing turns up the volume to almost full blast. I’ve always loved chocolate milk, so it’s right up my alley. (Note to self: commit to drinking more chocolate milk. A couple times per year isn’t enough.)

Lactose intolerant? You might want to avoid Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout.

I rated this beer a solid 13 points in appearance while only awarding 10 for aromatics, which were spoiled by the metallic smell. Both flavor and overall experience got a 32, and I noted I think most anyone who drinks this beverage will be pleasantly surprised not only by the balance but also by the easy drinkability.

Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, 87 points. Price: $8.99 US for six pack.

How much lactose typically goes into a milk stout beer? The average comes out to around 2.8 grams of lactose per every 8 ounces of beer, which is about only a quarter of what an 8 ounce glass of milk contains.


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