Beer Name: Black Rat
Brewery: Cellar Rats Brewery (Madison, OH)
Beer style: Imperial Milk Stout
Size: 12 oz bottle from a 4-pack ($10.99)
Beer Advocate Score: 87
Untappd Score: 4 caps
Sometimes after a long day of working, a workout, and mountains of homework, I find my mind racing. 10:00 P.M. rolls around and all I can think about is what I didn’t get done today and what I will have to do tomorrow. I know that if I attempt sleep in this state, I will roll around for hours and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. Some people drink warm milk before bed; I prefer the brain-numbing nirvana of a good imperial stout. Seriously, clubbing your brain with a beer packing 9% or higher (better) will help your brain realize that it needs to fall in line with your body’s tiredness. With this thought in mind, I wandered over to my fridge to see what offering I could make to the sleep gods tonight.
A few weeks back I reviewed the Rat Tail. At the end of that review I said that I wanted to try the Black Rat Imperial Milk Stout. I finally found some at Anderson’s, which seems to be the “go-to place” if you are looking for Ohio craft beer. As you may have conjectured from my picture, this beer is kind of a prick to poor. I usually do not mind this, but I was really thirsty (#craftbeerproblems, I know). As I was impatiently waiting, I stuck my nose in the glass and caught a very faint caramel malt scent. I have noticed that the lack of smell is a recurring theme of the Ohio imperial stouts. The other theme is that they really make up for the lack of nose with tons of flavor. Black Rat falls into this category. The higher than usual carbonation for this style really helps to deliver a very strong caramel malt flavor on the front end. This is followed by subtle, but present milk chocolate notes. The mouthfeel is as heavy as one would expect for this style. The beer finishes well balanced and with the lactose sweetness we all love in a milk stout. The fact that this is a milk stout really changes up the chocolate taste. I prefer dark chocolate notes in imperial stouts, but the lactose sugar really brings out the sweet side of the chocolate. If you like a sweeter stout that still throws haymakers, the Black Rat may become your Splinter.
Sessionability: I give it a 2-pack. (It is sweet for my taste and 9.2%.)
Overall: I give it a 4-pack (4 out of 6). This would be more toward a 5 than a 3. It is too sweet for me, but I suspect a lot of you will really enjoy it.
Would be best consumed: Winter months, when trying to sleep, would make a good breakfast beer paired with some cinnamon toast…or poured over Cinnamon Toast Crunch (alcoholic alert).