It seems like you can’t turn around these days without bumping into yet another one-off from Phillips Brewing, and this time there’s two of them (well, truthfully, there’s five of them but I’m only talking about two today). Leviathan is a Milk Stout brewed with charity in mind, and no, I don’t mean the well meaning stripper at the club around the corner from the brewery. I mean whales, specifically in the form of the Cetus Research and Conservation Society.
Phillips is generously donating the profits from this particular beer to said society, who concern themselves with… uh… riding around in zodiaks and… uh… measuring fish and… hunting whales, I guess? I dunno, I didn’t read the page–it was full of long words. Anyway, bravo Phillips.
The second beer is the first in their Twisted Oak Stillage Series, a Scotch Ale. Basically, Phillips wants to brand all their barrel’d releases under a single banner, and this is the first to get the new branding. As an aside, from beer bloggers everywhere: please pick less complicated names. It would make entering these into our databases easier. This beer isn’t called “Twisted Oak”; it has no actual name, and that means it doesn’t fit into my table below very easily. Oh well, screw it, I’m using Twisted Oak.
This is a pretty beer. It pours by the book with a thin tan head, light carbonation and a body black as night. Nose is rich roasted malt, with a hint of chocolate, coffee and an underlying promise of sweet creaminess. On tasting the coffee and chocolate are a bit more obvious, and the creamy mouthfeel is present, but not as massive as could be expected from the style.
The finish, though… wow… that’s where the wheels come off the cart. The finish is a harsh metallic twang that is amplified by the lactose into a nasty, off-milk undertone. It’s almost as if they threw in a few rolled up tubes of pennies in with the lactose during conditioning. As the beer warms the metallic finish becomes less pronounced, almost enough to make drinking one of these for the whales something everyone should do.
Alright, let me say right off the bat that this is not a particularly good Scotch Ale. Great Scotch Ales are rich, creamy, malty and sometimes they don’t wear any underwear, and this isn’t really any of those things. What this beer IS, though, is a fascinating malty, oaked, ale that has lots of complexities and nuances with a distinct Scottish heritage.
The nose is sweet caramel combined with a hint of cherries and oak. The taste is slightly spicey and caramel, but the oak is blended in wonderfully, providing an astringent tannin pull to the sides of your mouth that work well with the high sugar of the body. The slight metallic finish common to all Phillips brews is here, but with a Scotch Ale, it’s on style and works.
All that and it’s only 6.8%, meaning you can have multiples before lifting your kilt over your head.
|Style||Milk Stout||Scotch Ale|
|SOA Potential||n/a; table beer|
|Do it||To support the whales, man||To support fucking around with barrels, man|
|Cost||$6.50-$7.50 per 650ml bomber|
|Similar Beers (you can buy)||Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater||As a scotch: lots, including Howe Sound Wee Beastie. As a barrel beer that’s not so scotchy, none.|
|Chuck says||Buy one.||Buy several.|