Vanilla Stout 6% ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout
Big Muddy Brewing
I’ve had a couple of Big Muddy beers before. I enjoyed them both. They are solid beers. Generally a Big Muddy 6 pack runs in the $8.99 range which is an ideal price point for their beers. The other day, I happened upon a couple 6 packs of their Vanilla Stout and was intrigued. I’m a big fan of Vanilla, and Stouts are my favored type of beer. I wondered if this beer could be comparable to the Tall Grass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, I greatly enjoy. I had picked up one of the 6 packs and then noticed the price, $11.99. I was taken aback. Why the $3 higher price tag on this Big Muddy beer? As I was in the process of setting down the beers and moving on, someone else grabbed the other 6 pack. Looking at me he said “You should buy this, man. It is delicious. If you don’t buy it I’m grabbing both of them.” Given that recommendation and the fear that I’d be missing out on a potentially great beer, I sucked it up and paid the high end price.
I had spaghetti that evening. I couldn’t help myself and had one of these beers with the spaghetti. Do not do as I did. While I could still tell the beer was good, it is far from an ideal pairing with spaghetti. After finishing the spaghetti and drinking a glass of water to rinse my mouth, I cracked open a second Vanilla Stout.
Holy Hell, this beer is not just comparable to Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat; it blows it out of the water! (With apologies to Tall Grass’s beer, this is merely a distinction between good and great.) There was so much that I couldn’t taste and appreciate with the first brew, due to the masking from the spaghetti. While I could still tell it was a fine beer, the spaghetti destroyed the greatness of the beer.
This beer is best enjoyed on its own. No need for a palate cleanser, no need for accoutrement, no need for anything but the beer and your taste buds.
The beer seems simple and complex at the same time. The vanilla flavor is tasted from front to finish, and at the perfect proportion. You taste a full bodied stout with subtle vanilla flavor, that isn’t so subtle. It isn’t too sweet; it has just the right pinch of sweetness. Well balanced, is thrown around a lot, I’m just as guilty of the term’s overuse as any other reviewer, but this beer is truly well balanced.
I now know why that gentleman at the store told me what he did. I call him a gentleman because he wanted another beer lover to enjoy this delicious brew, when he could simply have let me set down that 6 pack and taken home both for himself. After drinking this beer I know how hard that must have been for him, and I fear that he is a better man than I. For had I been in his shoes, I don’t think I would have been as generous.