Mantra Illumination White Stout

I've had two white stouts before. The first one I was not a huge fan of, as they put coffee flavor in it without me looking. The second one made me wish ill upon a Fat Orange Cat. So, not a great record. Will Mantra, a brewery that I have a particular fondness for, be able to turn the tide? Let's all hope.

It's still odd to look at a stout that isn't some shade of black. I know it's just a thing I have to get over, but I can't help but think that this might be a better beer if it was the right color. As it is, the color is particularly coppery with almost no head. I tried to get as much head as I could coax out, and the pittance that you see in this picture is the best I could to. The aroma is an interesting sweet caramel and apple pie malt that has been resting in a whiskey barrel.

First sip is unlike most stouts. It isn't like the Evil Czech white stout, so there's no coffee lurking in there trying to attack me. Yes, I taste a bit of coffee, but that seems to be a very background flavor, and I don't find it irksome. Instead, it's a sweet soda with light caramel, apple pie, and that whiskey barrel intrigue.

Tip-in is apple juice and caramel with only a touch of carbonation tingle. The middle is where the whiskey - possibly vodka or moonshine, but definitely heavy alcohol - makes its home as the cinnamon and spices come in to form the apple pie with a caramel topping. The finish is a hit of bitter and a little floral tinge.

Bottom Line: Mantra is all about balance, and this isn't where balance is found.



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