St. Arnulf Alery Hexagram Milk Stout

There was only one reason I bought this bottle of beer, and I don't even know how much I spent on it. I bought it for this weird paper wrapped around the bottle packaging. I'm not normally one to go nuts over a particular kind of packaging, but this really stood out in the beer store. It's odd that this strange and seemingly foreign beverage comes from Kentucky, but I think that just goes to show that good ideas can come from anywhere.

I can normally hedge the color of these black beers by saying they have a little bit of ruby or brown around the edges just where the light is coming through, but that's not this beer. The sucker absorbs all light. The tan ahead absolutely does not want to come out and play, and what you see in this picture is the closest I could come to coaxing some out, and there isn't much to it. The aroma is downright boozy with heavy alcohol, sweet malt, chocolate, and roasted wood. In the background, there be berries.

First sip is much heavier in the berries than I would've expected. The sweet malt is mixing in with the sweet berries to produce a strange combination of dark, roasted wood and berries. Think of the hardwood floor of a jam factory where berries get mushed right into the wood itself, but this piece of wood is under the oven, so it got a bit charred. It would be an interesting beer to sip, but sipping is someone else's game.

Tip-in is berries, molasses, and a strange kind of milky syrup texture while there's no carbonation in sight. The middle is where the smoky remnants of the toasted wood grains just slosh down the gullet without bothering with niceties, but it is smooth in the middle. The finish is where chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and lots more berries join the party and trail off with just the berries as the final guest.

Bottom Line: It's an interesting take on a fruit imperial milk stout. Hell, it might be the only one.

2.25/5

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