Maybe it’s my British heritage but I am a sucker for roasty, malty qualities of a good stout. I’m not very particular about how I distribute my stout love either- each style brings their own unique and wonderful compliments. Oatmeal Stouts in general have a creamier and fuller mouthfeel. Coffee Stouts, if well crafted, create a beautiful synergy of roasted flavors. Of course the big hitting Russian Imperial Stouts are a beast all on their own.
After receiving some specialty Speigelau Stout Glasses as a Christmas gift, I thought this would be a great opportunity to see if they live up to the marketing hype (and an excuse to pick up a couple of bottles of a seasonal favorite.) The style of choice for today’s taste test is a Milk (Sweet) Stout.
Milk stouts provide a nice complementing sweetness to the style thanks to the lactose (milk) sugar used in the brewing process. It’s an unfermentable sugar, meaning it’s not consumed by the yeast and converted into alcohol- those sugars will remain in the final product. This can reduce the harsh astringency people associate with stouts and negate that roasted bitterness. I would say this is a good beer choice as a gateway for anybody looking to get foray into the world of stouts for the first time.
I selected Bell’s Double Cream Stout as the tester ale. It was a tough choice because Left Hand Brewing Company certainly sets the bar for milk stouts produced by an American brewery, their Milk Stout and Nitro Milk Stout are great examples of the style. I have an affinity for this particular Bell’s beer and was curious to see how the specialty glass would fare against the more traditional imperial pint glass. Here are my thoughts:
Appearance: As expected they have a similar look in the body of the beer. The color is close to pitch black with a slight dark ruby hue around the edges. But the real standout difference is the head retention. The Spiegelau glass kept the head retention at a constant throughout the duration of the drink and the head that remained had a wonderful mousse-like consistency.
Aroma: The glasses had a lot of differentiation with aroma detection. I really had to search out some of the aromas in the tulip glass, but the Speigelau glass really corrals those malt aromas in such a way that it hits in the face as soon as you put the glass to your nose.
Taste: Some mild differences. Both bring similar flavor profiles, nice and roasty with a sweet finish. I would say the major difference really happens within the mouthfeel.
Mouthfeel: Probably the most notable difference and the main reason why I will keep coming back to this glass for my stouts. It provided the beer a creaminess that I have only ever experienced with draft beers on nitro.
So what the verdict? Admittedly, I was skeptical at first if a $10 glass would improve the experience that much for a style I already love, but this glass does bring some nice enhancements to the overall drinking experience. If you are a frequent stout drinker I would say this is money well spent.
I will definitely be attempting a similar taste test in the future with my Speigleau IPA glass to see if improves the enjoyment of the beverage as much as the stout glass has proven to.bell's brewing, glassware, left hand brewing company, stout