It's #FloridaBeerFriday. Every Friday, we take a look at a beer brewed in the Sunshine State, giving analysis to the burgeoning craft-beer movement of Florida.
This week, we're taking a look at a beer with a lot of 'Florida' in the name. It's a darker beer for the soon-to-be-happening changing of seasons (any day now, weather) that incorporates sweetness with sessionability. It is the Florida Sweet Stout from Florida Beer Company in Cape Canaveral.
This is a 4.3% abv stout brewed with a a mix of lactose and sugar additions that give it quite a bit of residual sweetness after everything is said and done fermentation-wise. Lactose is milk sugar, which yeast has a difficult time breaking down. "There is an enzyme, beta-galactosidase or lactase, that breaks lactose down into glucose + galactose," explained Ron Baker, Ph.D. of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. "If the yeast don't produce this enzyme, they are unable to use lactose as a carbon and energy source." This leads to a sugary sweetness that remains after fermentation. Thanks, science!
It's also brewed with lager yeast instead of the traditional ale yeast for a stout (so bottom fermenting vs. top fermenting), theoretically providing a cleaning flavor profile and a unique spin on the normal stout game.
This beer pours a jet black color with a big frothy brown crown. The aroma is cocoa and chocolate syrup, which gives signs to what's to come. There is a fruity chocolate flavor, with an almost souring character that drinkers of Belgian stouts might be accustomed to. It's like a European chocolate. The body is moderate and very much 'there' for a low abv beer, and it carries with it a light and lingering finish.
It matches its name completely. Sweetness abounds on this one. It borders on too sweet, but holds up through a broad temperature range from first pour to the mid 60's.
Overall, for those who really love sweet beers, this is the stout for you. Traditional stout lovers might not dig it, but it's a good pick for dessert if an imperial stout just wouldn't do. Florida Sweet Stout could be a Florida alternative to Left Hand's Milk Stout if you've tired of it and want to try something new. It would be interesting to see this on nitro, for sure.
Follow #FloridaBeerFriday for more reviews of Sunshine State brews.
Get out there and #DrinkLocal.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.
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