Illawarra Brewing’s Shot in the Dark

Bear’s beer blog

Yes, it’s a coffee milk stout – but it doesn’t actually have both of those ingredients in it.

Shot in the Dark is the latest release from Illawarra Brewing Company (if you're having trouble keeping up with all the beers they’re pushing out, you’re not alone).

As the name indicates, there is coffee in it, courtesy of brewhouse neighbours Delano coffee roasters.

But there’s no milk in it. Which is actually pretty common in milk stouts.

So why do they call it a milk stout? Because lactose stout sounds far less appealing.

Quick brewing lesson – lactose is a sugar derived from milk.

When it’s chucked into a beer, the yeast can’t break it down into alcohol – which means it passes through the fermentation process and leaves us with a creamy feel and a slightly sweet flavour.

If you put your mind to thinking of a strong coffee with a hit of milk then you’re in the ballpark here.

The coffee is the main player on the palate, with the lactose adding some sweetness around the edges.

The two combine at the back end to leave you with a delicious note that makes you want another sip.

Not that brewer Tim Howard would know about that – word is the poor guy is lactose intolerant, so he can’t actually drink the beer he made.

Glen Humphries is an award-winning beer writer and author of The Slab.


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