Review: Vessel Bear Hug Root Beer Milkshake Stout

I like Root Beer and I like Milkshake Stouts but I don't know if I like them combined. A few months back I tried one at a Winnipeg brewery and honestly just didn't care for it - the flavours were clashing too much, too much roasted malt overpowering the sweet soda goodness. I can't say no to Vessel Beer's products so here I am, reviewing their Bear Hug Root Beer Milkshake Stout 🤷🏻‍♂️. When I see the can, all I can think of is the old A&W Root Bear song. From the label, Bear Hug is a rich n' creamy milkshake stout with natural root beer flavours and lactose. 5.8% ABV

Appearance: Pretty much a thick black stout, definitely doesn't have a bit of clarity that you would get in a root beer so it's pretty much black when put towards the light. The head looks real nice with a real creamy and frothy with a beige hue to it.

Aroma: Well, it definitely has a sweet root beer aroma to it but it's a bit toned down for my liking - it's got a bit of a black licorice aroma with caramel and vanilla, slight spiced. Good amount of creaminess to it, almost as if they made a float out of it. The malt isn't aggressive, nor are the hops.. so you don't get a real roasted malt presence to it so far.

Taste: The malt is much more prevalent this time around than in the aroma - It's got a moderate roasted malt profile with a bit of a nuttiness and a moderate amount of metallic taste to it. The root beer is more subtle but still gives off a bit of licorice, caramel and vanilla to it. There's a bit of a sharp almost vinegar-like presence to it that comes and goes, something I just can't describe. Mouthfeel is drier than expected as I was expecting it to be incredibly creamy and the aftertaste is subtle with a tad bit of roasted malt bitterness.

Overall Thoughts: Not bad but I was hoping for more of the root beer to pop out in this, as well as more of a vanilla-y creamy goodness to it. That said, I'll drink this again.. and I think this would be not bad as part of a float itself!

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