Instant Beer Review: Milwaukee Brewing’s ‘Admiral’ Stache

MY, THAT LOOKS TASTY. It is, Voice Inside My Head. It is a bourbon barrel aged Baltic porter from Milwaukee Brewing Company, entitled ‘Admiral’ Stache. Evidently, the name comes from some dude in Milwaukee who had an impressive mustache. Not sure why the word appears as ‘stash’ on the bottle and ‘stache’ everywhere else.

LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE DIDN’T DO A GREAT JOB WITH THE PROOFREADING. My thoughts exactly.

WHAT’S A BALTIC PORTER, ANYWAY? I’m not embarrassed to admit that I don’t know, specifically, what constitutes a Baltic porter. Here’s what RateBeer.com has to say:

The historical remnants of the 19th c. Baltic trade in imperial stouts, Baltic Porters are typically strong, sweet and bottom-fermented. They lack the powerful roast of an imperial stout, but have an intense malt character, and moderate to strong alcohol. Though they are typically lagers, there are a handful of top-fermented examples.

WELL, THAT CLEARS THAT UP. Now you know. You’re welcome. I would expect that the higher alcohol content helped to preserve the beer over long sea journeys back in the day.

LIKE, MAYBE BALTIC SEA JOURNEYS? That would be a distinct and likely possibility.

SO, BALTIC PORTERS ARE TYPICALLY STRONGER. WHAT’S THE ABV ON THIS ONE? The interwebs are telling me it’s clocking in at around 7%.

THAT’S NOT TOO HIGH. No, but it’s no session beer.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER A ‘SESSION’ BEER? Um, I guess something that wasn’t any higher than 5.5%. At 7%, the ‘Admiral’ Stache isn’t colossal, but it’s approaching bad decision-making levels.

YOU GOT SOME TASTING NOTES YOU’D LIKE TO LAY ON US? Here’s what MKE Brewing’s website says:

Milwaukee Brewing Co’s take on a classic European style. Baltic Porters are the stronger lager fermented cousin of the classic London Porter. The higher strength and cold fermentation help to create a smooth, less fruity porter, rich in roasted malt flavors and aromas. The “Admiral” Stache has a deep brown hue with a light caramel head. Toffee and milk chocolate dominate the flavor with subtle hints of dried fruit. One month of aging in Bourbon Barrels imparted a layer of vanilla and oak.

SO, IT’S A LAGER? Yeah. Weird, right?

MKE Brewing Co.

DO YOU LIKE THE BEER? Meh, it’s okay. There is a lot going on in this brew, and none of the flavors are overly dominant, which is a good thing. The vanilla characteristics are subtle and are nicely balanced by a smooth, malty quality, and the oaky aspect of the barrel aging is very faint. Which, in my opinion, is also more or less a good thing. Oftentimes barrel aged beers wind up tasting like nothing but the barrel. There are some strange, cherry grenadine-like notes that I’m detecting as well. Not crazy about those. And the finish is pretty lousy, lingering on the back of the palate like the annoying guest at the party who doesn’t pick up on the fact that the party is over. The beer is not as chewy as I often prefer in porters, but perhaps this is due to the cold fermentation and the bottom-fermenting yeast? I don’t fucking know.

FINAL THOUGHTS? I’ve never been super crazy about anything I’ve tried from Milwaukee Brewing Company, and the ‘Admiral’ Stache doesn’t do anything to change that. We’ll give it a C+. I won’t be rushing back out to purchase another six pack, I’ll put it that way.