On this fine 3rd night of Chanukah, I curled up at home and enjoyed a Black Sheep Milk Stout from New Limburg, and since it’s a lactose stout I did the only kind thing I could and refused to share it with my lactose intolerant husband. There’s fresh snow outside this week, and the dog has been busy frolicking in it. I thought I deserved something tasty to pair with all my dreidls and my zesty Chanukah cubicle decorations.

This particular night of the #8BeersOfChanukah was brought to us as a gift from my former colleague Greg, who unloaded what I can only imagine was his private reserve of desk beers on his last day of work. What a mitzvah! I was all too happy to help out with the Black Sheep, since I am a my own family’s black sheep. Kole and I stopped by the New Limburg brewery in Simcoe, ON during our Lake Erie Road Trip and that visit fell on my day as a designated driver, so I mostly sniffed Kole’s beers with jealousy.

The 5.3% ABV 500 ml bottle is of mysterious price, and currently sold out at the brewery. Our particular bottle was packaged on February 17, 2017 from batch 170321. It’s the least Belgian-style brew this schoolhouse brewery produces, and it is fermented with an English yeast strain. What’s going on here? Why are we out of brisket?

There was a LOT of froth going on for this beer. Brewed with lactose and sugar, with a grain bill combining barley and oats, the beer is topped up with vanilla extract at packaging time without being overly sweet. I expected a higher ABV with the added sugars.

Appearance: Deep mahogany to black. Long lasting tan head. THICK foam.

Aroma: Rich cocoa aroma, vanilla cream, toast.

Taste: Quite light on the palate, expected a richer mouth feel. Smooth mouth feel from both the lactose and the addition of oats to the grain bill.

Aftertaste: Burnt toast, oatmeal. Cocoa, vanilla buttercream, dark chocolate.

Suggested Food Pairing: Chocolate babka. None of that inferior cinnamon babka here.

Overall: May have been passed its prime, but didn’t have the alcohol content required for lengthy aging. Still a lovely brew, and a lovely parting gift from a colleague. I shared my Beaujolais Nouveau with him and I think I got the much better end of the deal. And so it goes.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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