Big Spoon Tres Leches Stout

Brewery:  Brazos Valley Brewing Co.
Style: Spiced Beer (30A)
Package: 12oz Can
Packaging Date: None
Purchased:  Specs Airport, Feb 2018

Details from the Brewer

ABV: 6.0%
A milk stout brewed with more than a spoonful of vanilla beans and love.  Let it envelope you with it’s comforting flavors as it sloly prods you to give in to pleasure


Aroma – 10/12

Dark fruit followed by an intense caramel.  Vanilla is present, but secondary to the caramel.  A burnt/roast character comes through as well, leading to almost a burnt sugar character when paired with the caramel notes.   No discernable hop character.  Slight alcohol note as room temp.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours with a large tan frothy head.  Very small compact bubbles that linger for some time.  Average head retention which slowly fades to a thin but persistent layer.  Liquid is dark black with ruby highlights on the edges

Flavor – 13/20

Sweet caramel notes from the aroma take front stage in the flavor with a vanilla backing.  A bready malt character follows this and last through to a very sweet finish.    Low bitterness.  Balance is very malt/adjunct forward, and towards sweetness.  Minor notes are roast, dark fruit and almost bubblegum on the finish.  A slight coffee and dark chocolate note appear towards the finish as well.

Mouthfeel – 5/5

Moderate carbonation, prickling on the tongue.  Medium high body that lasts throughout the taste.  Medium alcohol warmth on the finish, but more in the back of throat than mouth.  No astringency with a medium creaminess which is punctuated by the sweet finish.

Overall Impression – 7/10

An overall nice beer.  The adjuncts take front stage here.  While nice for those who enjoy vanilla, and caramel, I would like the base beer to shine through more.  While the lactose is present, the malt and hop character is very muted.   The perceived sweetness here is pretty high.  Lowering it some (but keeping in style) would drastically help the drinkability.

Rating – 38/50

I’m pretty impressed by the Brazos Valley beers I’ve had the past 2 years.  They’ve really nailed execution, and Big Spoon is no different.  While I’d prefer a few recipe tweaks, it hits the style. I’ve slowly warmed up to sweet/milk stouts over my beer drinking years, as I really didn’t like the sweetness originally.  I’m still not sure I like the lactose in the mouthfeel, it just has a different character to it than oatmeal stouts or ones that rely on flaked grain for body.  That said, this is a fine example of an adjunct milk stout which will satisfy the largest sweet tooth.