Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Madagascar - 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

46 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 46
Hads: 428
Avg: 4.5
pDev: 22%
Wants: 399
Gots: 100 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
4 Hands Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States | website

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout | 9.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThePorterSorter on 02-15-2014

This Imperial Milk Stout was aged in bourbon barrels with whole vanilla beans. Madagascar pours a dark black with notes of bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 46 | Hads: 428
Photo of pbgnar
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Very sweet on the nose. Tons of vanilla

Taste is full of vanilla and sugar but is perfectly balanced by bourbon flavors. Vanilla and bourbon combine in perfect harmony

Full bodied but could be a bit thicker

 208 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2015.

Deep walnut brown body with a hint of clarity around the edges. Small basic tan head, with little retention and can't quite make a finger. Settles to a creamy but even bubbles collar, and a little bit of lacing.

Aroma is quite impressive. Huge thick chocolate notes, and Duncan Hines cake batter. There's a hint of coffee roast in here, a bit of char as well as the roast character really pipes out just a little bit as well. Extremely impressive nose, with a bit of powder cocoa mixing in as well. Like a warm inviting bakers chocolate cake even with the matching icing, and a small cup of coffee. Very impressive.

One word. Wow. Where do I start? For a brew that seems to be fairly straightforward this is incredibly diverse on the palate. Thick rich and balanced, the light bodied quality opens up tremendously on first sip. Coffee light acid then a thick mixing cake like milk chocolate and vanilla sweetness fills the palate. Blasting char roast on the finish, and even in the mid palate as well, with some great amounts of dry roast porter like tones, and coffee bean grinds. Nice wonderful toned lactose sweetness with cream and vanilla complimenting perfectly, each of these roast, dry, sweet, and chocolate notes are just all paired together wonderfully. Aftertaste takes more of the sweetness away perfectly, almost cigar breath and coffee like quality. Oaky whiskey notes really seem to have just sat in the dust and given all their power to the other elements in sweetness and vanilla. There's no booze on this whatsoever either.

This doesn't even taste like a milk stout, and it's absolutely flooring. Drinks so incredibly easily, a great creation.

 1,749 characters

Photo of eifster82
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On draft, into snifter.

Dark (but not pitch black) appearance, no foam head. Load of vanilla smell. Very vanilla forward taste with a smooth ending. Bourbon note is there but not overpowering. The taste and feel is really dominated by vanilla. Overall a great stout, and one of the better vanilla ones out there. Would happily drink again, if I could ever find it.

 371 characters

Photo of RAlmeida77
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Not the darkest stout....was able to see through the pour.
S: Heavenly...vanilla, vanilla, and more vanilla. Some nice bourbon notes as well.
T: Huge vanilla with subtle bourbon notes. Delicious beer.
M: Super smooth. Very drinkable. Med mouthfeel with med carbonation.
O: Finally, a beer that lives up to the amount of vanilla I want! Not as much as VR but this still has a lot of vanilla. Excellent beer!

 414 characters

Photo of clay23
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The vanilla really hits on the nose. The beer is smooth all the way through and starts out marshmallow and finished chocolate. As it warmed burnt caramel tones came though. I would def recommend searching this out

 213 characters

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to @choobaccaHB for sharing this gorgeous drink

Pours deep mahogany. Head is minuscule and soon disappears.
Nose is gracefully complex. Rich, deep vanilla that is not overwhelming. I must disclose vanilla as a dominant note tends to be a negative for me, but this one is rounded and smooth, yet ever present. Also, gentle bourbon, hints of cocoa, and maybe marshmallow.
Taste is sublime. Like the nose, the vanilla is a constant yet it sashays with numerous partners. The cocoa is the strongest, and alludes to deep buttery brownies. The bourbon takes turns, especially in the swallow, bringing sweetness infused with slight char. And marshmallow hovers and retreats and taps in shyly. Madagascar is gently "warm." No burn, just a warn hug to the back of the mouth. The flavors really go back and forth. As it warms, the bourbon approaches parity with the cocoa.
Mouthfeel is perfect, creamy yet some heft.
Glorious Drink.

 932 characters

Photo of Kraj30
4.91/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

love this beer.. huge vanilla and bourbon smell as soon as you crack the bottle.. when its warm it is so smooth.. one of the BBA stouts I have ever had.. really really well done.. solid mouthfeel.. overall great beer

 219 characters

Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: black, but not the blacklist. Poured like a stout, but not an ultra thick pour.
S: vanilla and bourbon. Not an intense aroma, but a great smelling beer.
T: big vanilla, then slight bourbon. This is fantastic!
F: very smooth, supremely drinkable for a ba stout. Medium thickness and better than average coating.
O: this is a ba vanilla imperial milk stout, and my best comparison is this is vanilla rye's little brother. It's a fantastic beer, a real treat for sure.

 474 characters

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer was a little one note for me. Some chocolate and marshmallow taste. No barrel aging detected whatsoever. Flavor fades quickly as well, though that flavor is good. Glad to try. 2015 version.

 199 characters

Photo of pagriley
3.65/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark mahogany, settles to almost black in the glass. Not much head or lacing
Big vanilla on the nose. Not as medicinal as VR, but about the same level - Vanilla turned to 11, but not much else from the base beer.
Big thump of Vanilla milk shake, then nothing. No barrel, no base beer, just vanilla
Thin, almost watery mouthfeel even when at room temp

Overall I put this in the same category as Funky Buddha adjunct stouts - really nice, if you are into the kapow! over the top adjunct flavor, but that is all you are getting. Huge nose, but not much else to back it up

 579 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle a deep, opaque black with one finger of khaki head.

Aroma of vanilla, cocoa and bourbon.

Tasted of cocoa, marshmallow, vanilla, bourbon and oak. Some boozy warmth in the finish from the 9.3% abv.

Medium/Full bodied and creamy with a lighter carbonation.

One of my absolute favorites from 4 Hands.

 323 characters

Photo of rabbott2
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage drank out of a bottle in a snifter on 12/29/2015.

Look - Motor oily thick and extremely impressive lacing for a 9% milk stout. This is a quite nice start to this beer.

Smell - vanilla marshmallow at the forefront. Also some nice notes of chocolate and cocoa with a little bit of roast, toffee, and coffee as well.

Taste - love this. The vanilla is excellent but not overpowering. The bourbon really comes out more and more as it warms, but the balance continues to get better and better. The oak comes out nicely after a little warming too. Some sweet dark chocolate adds to the mix, but nothing overly complex. A very enjoyable mix of flavors.

Feel - very creamy. Not super thick, but this goes down very easily with minimal booze. A little heavy on the carbonation, but impacts more as it goes down and not on the flavor profile.

Overall - a great beer. Had this at FOBAB and seeked out some bottles from this release and extremely glad I did. It's certainly no FO or VR, but it's a very strong vanilla stout and I will seek this one out annually. Love 4 Hands more and more every beer I try of theirs!

 1,134 characters

Photo of woosterbill
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks, Dino!

A: Black body, reddish highlights; half-inch head of dense tan foam; decent retention, good lace. Attractive.

S: Plenty of vanilla, but it's not overpowering or one-note. There's also substantial chocolate, bourbon, and oak. Really nice.

T: Follows the nose: sweet vanilla up front, rich barrel character closing things out with caramel, bourbon, and toasty oak. Long, bittersweet finish with lingering vanilla and dark chocolate. Tasty.

M: Not too thick, not too thin. Moderate carbonation.

O: Excellent beer, but not as memorable as it might have been. At least it wasn't as cloying as some other vanilla stouts I've had.


 651 characters

Photo of fondyball20
4.39/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle. Subtle vanilla flavor compared to vanilla rye, which some may like, but I enjoy a sweet, in your face vanilla stout. Still, it's a very good beer. Looking forward to trying 2015 fresh

 196 characters

Photo of RMelyon
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage, drank 11/22/2015. This beer tastes like vanilla chocolate milk with just a hint of bourbon. Therefore, if given the opportunity, you should drink it.

 163 characters

Photo of swanfungus
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I was really impressed by this brew. Pours jet black with a thin tan head. Aroma is bourbon and vanilla, with an equal amount of tasty vanilla and chocolate flavor. Thick, creamy mouthfeel. Smooth finish. Awesome.

 218 characters

Photo of TampaRainman
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Damn fine Vanilla Stout. If it's this good now, I can imagine it was probably a vanilla rockstar when fresh. Nicely balanced, but leans sweet as a vanilla stout probably should.

 179 characters

Photo of floridadrift
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A really tasty beer, lots of vanilla going on, solid bourbon notes but a bit light on the mouth feel, possibly because of the lack of ABV but it's delicious. Its so good! Black as night, light fluffy tan head, medium mouth feel but really quite tastey to drink!

 261 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- This beer hits the glass in a thick, black pour that kind of looks and feels like chocolate milk. A small head of about a centimeter forms and is medium tan in color. Most of the head ends up sticking around a good while and leaving a solid amount of lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet lactose sugar and chocolate greet the nose first on the beer. Just a hint of vanilla sweetness mixes in next before the barrels lend their flavors to the scent. The oak and char are more prominent on the end of the smell. Overall impression of the scent of the beer is sweet upfront with balancing burnt malts and barrel on the back end.

T- The beer starts you off with a mildly bitter bang of burnt malts and chocolate right up front. The semi-sweet nature of the chocolate takes over for a brief moment before the barrel characteristics move in and give a bit of oak and char spiciness. Right after the barrel on the very end of the drink, the vanilla sweetness kicks in more noticeably. The lingering flavor on the tongue is what I imagine licking the inside of a bourbon barrel to be like, with spicy char and oak mixing in with vanilla sweetness.

M- Thick and creamy is the best way to describe this milk stout. The lactose sweetness in the beer lends itself to thickening the flavor up and making the body heavy and smooth. Outside of the bourbon barrel flavors, there is no detectable alcohol or warmth to be had.

Overall, this beer feels like it should when you drink it, but the flavors are a little less than I was expecting. The vanilla is definitely a subtle flavor that mixes with the barrel and malts rather than being a standout flavor. This is a very good imperial sweet stout, but I was hoping for something a little stronger in the vanilla department.

 1,757 characters

Photo of Houser
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

been looking to try this for quite some time, and was very happy i was finally able to land my hands on it. not as thick as vanilla rye, but given the different styles, it was expected, although the two beers do have their similarities.

 237 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tried this at Great Taste of the Midwest. Tons of vanilla in the aroma and flavor. Taste is slightly boozey, but there is a lot of vanilla here. Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The beer feels a little thin on the pallete and the booziness makes it feel a little bigger so they kinda cancel each other out. Glad to try this at a festival. Hype train is going on this beer.

 387 characters

Photo of TastyIsBeer
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Best beer I had at the Great Taste of the Midwest (2015) - vanilla is not at all artificial, mouth feel is perfect for what tastes like a great vanilla shake. One of the few "dessert beers" with this flavor profile, it definitely impressed.

 241 characters

Photo of Zaximus
4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In the minority here as I think this one is a bit overhyped. Looks the part as it pours a nice black/extremely dark brown with minimal head. Smells nice - vanilla and bourbon as you would expect.

Tastes good? Solid. I think the vanilla is a bit overly sweet and it leaves a sticky sweet, somewhat medicinal taste in the finish. Nice bourbon heat and a great thick, mouthfeel. But... Solid. Not exceptional.

 407 characters

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was close to perfect. Vanilla was natural-smelling and the bourbon did a good job of punching through any cloying sweetness from the beans and malts.

Seriously, a wonderfully executed beer. Class act.

 207 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jet black in color with absolutely no penetration to light. A fingernail of brown foam rests on top. Heavy Brussels lacing. Amazing aroma of dark malt, slight smokiness, and a hint of vanilla at the end. The flavor is dark roasted barley, lactose, and the bitterness is offset by a touch of vanilla. The mouth is thick and creamy.

 335 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Madagascar from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.