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Milking It

Nitro Merlin Milk Stout

The addition of lactose, a.k.a. milk sugar, transforms Velvet Merlin into what is known as a “milk stout.” Milk stouts are prized for combining the heady flavors of a traditional stout with a hint of sweetness and added roundness on the palate.

The Same, But Different

With the exception of the milk sugar, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout is otherwise brewed exactly the same as the original Velvet Merlin oatmeal stout. Roasted barley brings astringency to the beer, while a high hopping rate adds bitterness—qualities that define the original Velvet Merlin and make it appealing as a dry oatmeal stout. However, when milk sugar is added to create Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, the astringent qualities are counterbalanced—similar to adding cream to your dark roasted coffee. The result is a stout that is still dark and roasty, but with a mellow sweetness and roundness of body.

How It Works

Scientifically speaking, lactose is a disaccharide sugar derived from galactose and glucose that is found in milk. In simple terms, it is a sugar byproduct of milk. It comes in the form of an off-white powder. On the tongue, it is not nearly as sweet as traditional sugar (sucrose). From a brewing standpoint, the key property of lactose is that it is non-fermentable. Whereas brewing yeasts consume simpler sugars such as glucose to create two essential components of beer (alcohol and carbon dioxide gas for carbonation), they cannot consume lactose. Therefore, whatever amount of lactose you add remains in the beer, allowing you to fully control the level of sweetening without heightening the levels of alcohol or carbonation. 

Even Nicer On Nitro

Brewmaster Matt Brynildson and his team added another twist by producing this milk stout in the nitroformat. Nitro beers deliver a thick, creamy foam and an ultra-smooth mouthfeel—qualities that accentuate and enhance the classic milk stout character.

Complete Bull?

Yes, we realize that the tap badge for Nitro Merlin Milk Stout appears to feature a bull with a pair of
horns, which would be a thematic stretch because only cows—not bulls—produce milk. Then again, can a cow have horns, too? That’s something to ponder over your next pint.

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