Mantra BBJ Bourbon Barrel Milk Stout

Here's the thing about Mantra - they haven't really produced a stinker that I've tried yet. This local brewer doesn't seem to run away from more esoteric styles, but I think I'd feel a lot better about them if I could try an IPA or a lager (although the Blonde was good on tap, but being on tap is cheating).

The beer is gorgeous. It has a robust tan head that is thick and luxurious atop a deep, deep brown beer. The head dies down to a manageable thin layer with thickness around the edges of the glass while the aroma is solid oak, smoke, and I can definitely smell that bourbon lurking with its finely tuned sting.

First sip is thick and more fruity than I thought. It has a kind of cherry-wood taste to it that mixes with the sweetness of the milk stout to make a tangy, woody strawberry milkshake with some white lightening added. The alcohol does spoil the taste a tad, but it's not enough to dissuade me from having a full swig of this beer.

Tip-in is sweet bing cherries, light carbonation tingle, and hints of oak. The middle is very smooth oak, fruits, and sweetness that is almost creamy. The finish comes around too soon with a cold twang of bitterness and tartness as the cherries seem to get to the pit and the oak is too harsh. The alcohol trail-off is just trying to get me to not like what is ultimately a good beverage.

Bottom Line: They aren't poking around blindly, but they haven't hit it out of the park.

2.75/5

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