La Vache Folle - Milk Stout - Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Not Rated.
La Vache Folle - Milk StoutLa Vache Folle - Milk Stout

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

212 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 212
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 49
Gots: 32 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Microbrasserie Charlevoix visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Phyl21ca on 02-14-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 212 | Reviews: 103
Photo of Advocaate
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Caveat: drank this with friends a few days ago so recollection is an issue here. But...

Pours jet black and opaque. Less head than other poster noted, maybe 1 cm with minimal lacing.

N: Mild and nondescript, fruity and nutty.

T: Awesome! Immediate lactose tang and very rich fruit and coffee notes. Didn't notice much by way of chocolate, no more than a typical pale ale would have. Definite alcohol punch and very malty finish.

M: Low carbonation and very creamy, which I love personally.

O: Outstanding overall. Any truly creamy beer wins points from me, and the flavour was complex without being overwhelming. Only criticism was the disappointing pour, some more bubbles wouldn't kill this brew.

Photo of dar482
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%

The beer comes in a rich black color.

The aroma has a big punch of dark fruit, raisin, roasted malt, espresso and chocolate.

The flavor is full on the palate. In the front, there's dark fruit of dried date and raisin. Then onto chocolate onto the sides of the mouth, espresso and roasted malt on the back end to dry out the beer. Touches of vanilla and molasses for more complexity.

An underrated brew that tastes towards an hugely improved Narwhal.

Photo of 2_Shaynez
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Pours black with no light getting through, but a ruby brown shine at the base when tilting glass into light. 1.5 finger mocha head. Unproportional retention, but really beautiful lacing! Like picture worthy lacing!

Nose: Fresh Skim Milk, Coffee, Chocolate.

Taste: Something I cant put my finger on!!!! Its probably the first taste of the lactose, which I get right after..coffee & chocolate of course, at 9% ABV im getting a bit of alcohol which is expected, but tolerable. Say in comparison to St. Ambroise who do an imperial stout at 9.2% ABV and its a little hard to drink, but this is perfect.

Mouth: Some good body from the lactose, which they do specify on the bottle. Low to low-medium carbonation. A tad of stickiness around the lips.

Overall: "SOMETHING DIFFERENT", a good stout with a twist, i think brewing with lactose really sets it apart. Very very good honestly, and at 9% ABV these 500ml bottles will give you a buzz which makes this a nice after-dinner couch beer!

Photo of Humphreyproject
4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Really nice stout. Quebec microbrasseries are becoming pros at brewing British and Irish style stouts and porters.

VFIMS has a great look in the glass. It's almost opaque in the bottle with a nice almost solid head.

It smells of burnt coffee and earthy molases. The flavor is smooth, slightly bitter and hearty. While it does not have the complexity of Sang d'Encre, it is comforting and satisfying.

For food pairings, it goes great with beef and pork dishes (stews, grilled meats, meat pies, etc) but also goes great with rich sweet foods. I had a glass with a slice of cheesecake and it seemed to pair perfectly much to my surprise after having resisting the suggestion for so long.

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.77/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

When Bucky discovered that La Vache Folle by Microbrasserie Charlevoix would be making a rare appearance in the LCBO, he jumped on it like a fat kid on a box of Smarties. La Vache Folle came in a brown 500 ml bottle with a bottling date of February 4, 2013, and was 9.0% alcohol by volume. With its label showing a picture of a "mad cow", this beer is difficult to miss.

La Vache Folle poured an opaque black colour with about 1" of crema coloured head. The head lasted for several minutes before fading to a blob of foam in the centre of my glass, a thin collar of foam and a patchy thin film across the rest of the beer's surface. The remnants of the foam left considerable, attractive lacing down the far side of the glass. Its aroma was mainly of dark chocolate, with notes of coffee, caramel and a bit of alcohol as the beer warmed. I get the impression that I'm in for something special here! The flavour began with sweet chocolate milk which gave way to coffee with a hint of caramel, and finished with a mildly bitter dark chocolate flavour which lingered as an aftertaste. Its 9.0% alcohol content is very well hidden, being just detectable as the beer warms up. A perfect beer for this cold and rainy Canadian night. La Vache Folle had a soft carbonation, creamy mouthfeel and was rich and full bodied. I really hope that this is more than a one-time appearance by this wonderful beer. Though a bit pricey at $5.25 per 500 ml bottle, you are at least getting a superior product in return for your hard earned cash.

Photo of Trancesexual
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into a Snifter

A: Jet Black with frothy white foam that dissipates fairly slowly

S: A lot of sweetness from the lactose here, a good whiff of booziness from the 9%, but not a whole lot of other discernible smells here.

T: Much like the nose, the sweetness and creaminess from the lactose hits you immediately. Aftertaste ends pleasantly with bitter roasted malt notes, and the high alcohol content is somewhat noticeable.

M: Low carbonation makes this beer deliciously creamy and drinkable on the tongue. Hands down the greatest strength of this brew in my opinion.

Overall: Very solid offering. I only wish the nose had a bit more complexity.

Photo of DaveBar
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

$5.35/ea at the LCBO. 500ml bottle.

Served at 6deg C in a draught glass.

A- Opened well with a good snap of the cap. Poured with moderate dark foam. Extremely dark

S- After opening you can definitely smell the spicy chocolate nature of this beast

T- This is where it excels. The chocolate flavor is fantastic. Super well hidden alcohol. Watch out, this one goes down like a guiness at twice the alcohol so be careful

M- Creamy. If you have ever had a milk stout you know what I mean

O- Excellent! Bought a few to cellar but will not let them go much past a year.

Very very good stout. It sneaks up on you so be careful. Mine when down in less than a half hour and it was my first of the night after work before dinner....

Food Pairing

This creamy good stout will pair very well with... Beef pie

If you have the fortitude to try a steak and kidney pie you will be very very happy with this match. I purchased a Tenderflake pie crust then had at her with the steak and kidney recipe I found on the net from a nice Scottish site.

Enjoy!

UPDATE JAN.10/15

Opened one from the cellar over 1yr old. It held up great! Yes things blended out a bit and the chocolate had less of an edge but still very good!!

Photo of TerryW
4.61/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow. This is an impressive beer.

Pours black with a substantial and solid head that takes it's own sweet time settling to a cap while going down beautifully all the way. Looks great.

Chocolate, licorice and alcohol in the nose, but soft all the way around. Very appetizing.

Soft and full in the mouth. Chocolate, charcoal, coffee, wood all blended together in perfect harmony. There isn't anything jarring, out of place or overly stern happening here. Looks of interesting things happening in the glass, nothing out of place. Wow.

It is pretty rare for a beer to impress me the way this brew has. Wow. Wish I had more, especially since I lost half the bottle to my wife. Gotta go get some more.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Special thanks to hoppypocket for sending us this beer across the country. Bottled 01/23/2013

A: A pitch black pour with 4 fingers of tan head which slowly settles leaving plenty of lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: Initial scents of milk chocolate and espresso followed by cocoa beans and oak.

T: Pronounced milk chocolate followed by mild espresso. Slight wood notes and nuttiness. The milk sugars are quite forward and add a layer of complexity.

M: Oily, thick and creamy.

O: Extremely delicious beer and the best milk stout I've had to date. If I was to have a beer for breakfast this would be it. Well worth getting.

Photo of smakawhat
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tumbler.

A nice even tan light coffee head is formed, very creamy and soapy with latge staying power and great retention. Deep dark walnut brown body with nice red highlights.

Nose has light classic milk lactose but more of a nice wood and tannic roast character. Some cream but this is not sweet forward like most milk stouts. Some faint milky chocolate rounds things out a bit.

Palate is interesting. Woody tannic slight sharp hop bent almost, some faint berry fruit angles, even a bit of nutty character. Some cream comes in with much toned down nice sweetness. Minor fizz playful carbonation and quite dry.

Overall one of the more unique milk or imperial stouts I have had lately, very memorable.

Photo of BGDrock
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, sticky head, colour of a brown paper bag; fades in a minute or two leaving a film

Aroma: almost no aroma whatsoever; very faintly of coffee tobacco

Taste & Mouthfeel: light taste and light body, barely a hint of the hefty ABV; has a milky flavour, pairing well with a hint of coffee and caramel - like having a brandy cream, even including the mild burn of alcohol in the finish; great carbonation, satin mouthfeel; very lightly of chocolate, and it's more like what than dark

Overall: a nice change from the typical stout, easy-drinking, sure to be a crowd pleaser

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle picked up from LCBO for under $6 CDN. Served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Jet black, with a dark tan head measuring about a finger. It doesn't last terribly long but leaves nice wispy collar of cream on top. Too dark to see anything that may be going on inside the glass.

Smell - Coffee, dark chocolate and a bit of burnt caramel. Maybe trace licorice aromas and the coffee and dark chocolate come out as the beer warms a bit.

Taste - Full flavored, intensely tasting of coffee dark chocolate and caramel. Booze is invisible at first but melds more and more strongly with the remaining flavors as it warms. Not that much of a lingering aftertaste, the flavor is just kind of gone like pressing a reset button, but wonderful in the mouth. Started off loving it, but about halfway in, the intensity was almost sensory overload and with the booze coming through more strongly, I was getting a lot of alcohol flavor every bit of the advertised 9%. Still really good flavor overall.

Mouthfeel - Rich super slick and extremely creamy and filling. Low carbonation but quite a heavy beer. Clean finish that doesn't linger nor is it especially dry. Really well done here.

Overall - Delicious beer that I thoroughly enjoyed however the sweetness and apparent booziness after half a glass is just a bit excessive and prevents me from wanting much more. A beer which if served in a 330 ml bottle would be even better since the serving size would be just about right. Nonetheless the inclusion of lactose here makes this beer a little creamier and amplifies the flavors to an extent that it is an experience in itself.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque black, no light penetration. The huge, rocky espresso head lasts almost the whole glass, draping it with foam patches on the way down. The aroma is sweet with a roasty edge and brandy notes. The taste is of creme brulee with toffee sweetness mixed with a subtle dark malt roastyness. Some plum and apple fruit notes lie in the back. Hops are very restrained throughout, providing nothing more than a minimum of bitterness. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a soft, light carbonation.

This is a good imperial stout. On the sweet side as you would expect, but with lots of complexity. Alcohol is also very well hidden for 9%. Worth a try.

Photo of StJamesGate
3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet umber with sticky hills of tan foam.
Malteser nose with bark, bubble gum and smoke - phenolic.
Milk chocolate, a lactic tang, some woody balsamic notes, brown sugar sweetness, a bit of berry and earthy hops to end.
Humus finish and tight, sour linger.
Creamy, the light side of medium, chewy, no burn.

Sort of Belgian? Because there's an edge here that's a bit wild and not totally wrong. It could be sherry notes from Special B or, at 10 months after bottling, it could just be a bit oxidized. Either way, it opens nicely, with the lactic notes settling down, lots of chocolate, no heat, and a smooth body that never cloys.

Photo of mick303
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a tulip, nice solid three fingers of light tan head ontop of a dark brown thick beer. Nice sticky lacing, and the film lasts till the end. 4
S – immediate licorice and roasty notes. Tarry licorice, sticky fruits, dates, figs, and a subtle thick creaminess, some coffee maybe, with a strong cocoa/ semi-dark chocolate. Really interesting, and able to coax some more coffee notes out. 4.25
T – milk chocolate, coffee, then a mélange of creamy licorice, slight candy fruits of dates, light bitterness. The creaminess is really tasty and interesting, blended with the chocolate and toasty caramel, with a licorice note as well, mocha is a big note. Then a dry, creamy caramel finish. It’s a bit on the sweet side I think but the flavor is quite intriguing, the lactose is def on the strong side, but differentiates it from a typical stout. 4
M – Far too sessionable to possibly be 9% right? This drinks super smoothly, a moderate carbonation and a full lactose creaminess which has some bitter choc., Roasty coffee and smoke throw in. Almost light on the palate as a lot of the heavier stout character are smoothed out by the lactose, its maybe a bit too much like chocolate milk, I want a bit more presence. 4
Initially this was rocking my world, then the sweetness started to get to me and I was yearning for bitterness. Really drinkable and for the style I would say this is a steller example, and it has a good mix of some more typical stout notes and licorice but smoothed out really nicely by the deep tasty creamy body. It’s definitely worth a try for the uniqueness, but I think in terms of a regular stout I would look elsewhere. This is super smooth though, and it would be very easy to get through a few pints of this tasty brew. 4

Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep black with a tinge of dark red, topped off with a copious quantity of cafe latte foam. Aroma is very sweet with a whiff of smoke, recalls perfumy tobacco and fermented dark fruit. Palate is loads of milk chocolate, figs and dates, coffee, vanilla, and dark caramel. Overall effect recalls chocolate-covered raisins and bourbon. Body is silky smooth, creamy, and full, and finish is quite bitter with some woody and smoky notes. Complex with a perfect milk stout body. World class and probably my favorite Canadian stout. Carbonation level is moderate and accentuates the complexity. Struggling to find a fault here. Perhaps the palate fatigues a bit late in the game, where the bitterness starts to trump the sweet layers. Wait, nope ... There's the sweet again.

Photo of SebD
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves great lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of coffee, espresso, roasted malts, dark chocolate and cocoa.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has definite coffee/espresso, roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, cocoa and some faint fruits.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd love to say that La Vache Folle ("the mad cow") was black and white but it's not. I could probably get away with calling its body black (though I see it as more of a very dark brown) but its head definitely has a latte tint; it's not even close to pure white.

The aroma is relatively rich but far from opulent; it smells of milk chocolate, dark dried fruits and charred oak (though this is not barrel aged). It doesn't have the air of an imperial stout and comes across as being two or so alcohol rungs lower than it actually is.

The taste is defined by flavours of vanilla and burnt sugar. It drinks like a hot chocolate that's been spiked with a shot of espresso then put on the barbecue. It is sweet and bitter, strong but scrumptious. Bitterness takes the form of an unsweetened cocoa or coffee taste.

This stout drinks like it's been smoking cigars - there's a cinnamon-y, cigar box spice and light tar notes. It leaves a similarly smoky and astringent taste in the mouth. It's like coffee breath's raunchier cousin. But it's still a treat to drink; this is a dessert in a bottle and induces cravings for berries or caramel cake. Alcohol is not necessarily noted but does creep up eventually.

Microbrasserie Charlevoix brews some of the best Belgian-style ales outside of Belgium. They can also apparently emulate a mean Russian Imperial Stout; Vache Folle has the quantity and quality of character of some barrel-aged offerings but drinks about as easily as any generic, standard-strength stout. It remains a fixture of Quebec's rich, forever improving craft beer scene.

Photo of TheDoctor
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:
Pours a murky, impenetrable jet black with an adequate tan head that pours big before quickly settling down to about an inch of puffy goodness. Good retention; subdued lacing.

S:
Hops, charred malt, brown sugar, some mineral odors. Quite inviting.

T:
Toasty, but clean. Malt predominates but it is well-balanced with what hop there is. Definite sweetness, but not sticky sweet or too rich. Coffee, chocolate, nuts, pepper on the whole. Surprisingly earthy backbone. Really nice. Lingering, slightly spicy aftertaste.

M:
Creamy and effervescent at once. Round flavors and mouthfeel but not over-powering. Smooth, slow finish with spicy, prickly aftertaste.

O:
Really, really good. Everything that makes an imperial stout good, sanded and planed down to be super smooth, well-balanced and drinkable. Not much else to say. It hits all the most important marks and doesn't fail on any of them.
Would absolutely get this one again.

Photo of polloenfuego
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass.

A: deep dark brown with a minimal head that disappears quickly.

S: coffee, cocoa, roasted malts and some milk

T: coffee and bitter cocoa again upfront, there is a sweet finish and the alcohol is hidden.

M: medium creamy. Perhaps the carbonation is a little aggressive, but overall it is smooth and pleasant.

O: this was my first milk stout and I was rather pleasantly surprised by the feel and flavor of this style. The beer finished nicely and i have to say I find it quite drinkable. I could easily see myself having a few on a cool evening. I have always been a fan of Charlevoix, so this beer did not disappoint me. I look forward to trying more of this type and seeing what others have to offer.

Photo of jvillefan
2.72/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I am going to take a point off of each category due to the vast inexperience that this brewery clearly has. The beer was vastly overcarbonated and nearly exploded after opening despite no reason to do so. After the fountain of beer on my ceiling and carpet there was only enough to fill 4 oz of my glass.

A: A dark brown body with a huge brown head.

S: Not great. It has a homebrew aroma when homebrewing is done with extract. There is sweet chocolate aromas present as well.

T: Light flavors. There is a chocolate flavor with some creamy flavors in the background. There are many better milk stouts out there.

M: The carbonation is way to high and this leaves the body deceptively light.

O: Could have been good if the brewery had more skill when it comes to their process. Very poor execution. This will be my last beer from Microbrasserie Charlevoix.

Photo of AlexFields
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate brown, thick and murky, very large bubbly coffee colored, leaves webs of lacing.

Nose is fairly dry lactose, milk chocolate and dusty cocoa, vanilla, some light blueberry or grape. Light bitterness.

Taste opens with the same blueberry/grape fruit character, sweet milk chocolate, some lightly bitter roast, sweet lactose. Not incredibly sweet for a milk stout but very tasting. There is a slightly cardboard like thing in there too but it's not too distracting.

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, lots of carb, feels fairly thick and dry.

Very nice milk stout! I really like the dark fruit character.

7.9/10

Photo of Haydn-Juby
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle to an English tulip glass.

A: Dark but not pitch black. Some ruby red highlights are visible on light contact. Minimal head about a little less then a finger with some lacing.

S: Coffee and espresso on the nose.

T: Deep rich roasted malts. Dark chocolate like flavor as well. Very nicely balanced but slightly sweet with the aid of the lactose sugars in the beer. The alchohol is very well masked and I probably would have no idea this was 9% if the bottle didn't say so.

M: Maybe slightly thinner then I would like but I tend to lean towards oatmeal stouts. Good creamy mouth feel and smooth going down.

O: This was a pretty good buy. One of my friends suggested it. Its pretty pricey but it would make a nice treat every once in a while. Good beer.

Photo of ThickNStout
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500mL bottle from La Duchesse D'Aiguillon (Quebec City). 4.99. Bottled 11/1/12. Served in a Microbrasserie Charlevoix goblet.

Pours dark cola brown with one and a half fingers fluffy sand head. Nice sheets of lacing on the way down.

Smells of dark cocoa, sweet cream and roasty malts. Simple but nice.

Taste is bittersweet cocoa, lightly creamed coffee, burnt caramel, chocolate milk, roast malts, lactose sweetness and slightly nutty. Very little alcohol bite.

Medium full, creamy feel with initially too-sharp carbonation that calms down a bit as it warms. Mildly bitter creamy cocoa aftertaste.

A nice find on my recent trip to Quebec City (thanks for the reccomendation ricochet173!). One of the better strait up milk stouts I've had with plenty of robust notes that make it significantly more interesting than typical brews in the style. Definately worth a try.

Photo of Muhly
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a mug.

A-opaque black colour. Couple of fingers of creamy tan/brown head.

S-coffee and sweet, slightly sour chocolate milk.

T-a hint of sweet dark malts with a powerful hit of bitter coffee and dark chocolate.

M-initially thinner and more carbonated than I anticipated, but as the carbonation dissipates, it seems to become creamier and fuller. The creamy mouthfeel adds to the enjoyment. No astringency detected and finishes with a bit of sweetness.

O-I think this is a pretty bang on sweet stout with the exception of the initial mouthfeel which I wish was creamier and a bit more full. Oh well. After sitting for a couple of beats, the mouthfeel comes into focus and everything is beautiful. I'm grabbing one the next time I feel like a sweet stout!

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La Vache Folle - Milk Stout from Microbrasserie Charlevoix
92 out of 100 based on 212 ratings.