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La Vache Folle - Milk Stout - Microbrasserie Charlevoix

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

111 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 111
Hads: 227
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 53
Gots: 43 | FT: 5
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 (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of La Vache Folle - Milk Stout Alström Bros
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Reviews: 111 | Hads: 227
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A smooth drinking imperial stout..substantial milk chocolate, a nice change from bourbon booziness. The aroma is milk chocolate. Sweet without being cloying. Pours dark brown with lots of initial creamy bubbly off-white. ABove average mouthfeel. Worked with sushi.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head with pretty good retention and lacing. Aroma of medium roasted malt with a nice touch of lactose. Taste of roasted chocolate malt is pretty dry with no noticeable hops. I’m not sure if my mouth was playing trick with me but I could really distinguish lactose in there. Interesting take on a style that I don’t have access to very often.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, in a hotel room in downtown Montreal, in advance of checking out some local beer bar flavour.

This beer pours a rather opaque black, with very slight basal cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, foamy, and playfully bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent spooky webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells readily of a heady roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, salty black licorice, well creamed espresso, a hint of tobacco ash, and a whiff of warming alcohol. The taste is more toasty caramel malt, a touch of stronger toffee, mildly bitter, and yet still sweet milk chocolate, fading anise, cafe au lait, and a further burnt ashy note. No real alcohol manifests until it warms substantially.

The carbonation is mild, but not absent, the body a large-ish medium-full weight, smooth and silky and robust as all get out. It finishes off-dry, with some strong cocoa, bready caramel, and mild coffee essences sticking around. The amped-up alcohol is still a no-show (for now, I'm sure I'll change my tune soon enough).

A stellar Imperial Milk Stout (lacking its own category here, I'll give it one in my little microcosm), this seems to me to be a first cousin, perhaps once or twice removed, of Peche Mortel, as the flavours, while still quite punchy, seem to keep it mostly on the down low. A strong effort, and oh so very (scarily) drinkable. I'd partake in the insanity of this Mad Cow on a regular basis if I could.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark brown liquid, essentially black with no light penetration what so ever. Rich deep, and thick chocolate colored lace then formed on the top of it to a height of around two inches

The aroma was just as rich and sweet, the first notes to hit me were a nice sweet milk chocolate, lactose, and a nice burnt caramel aroma. Very sweet, with hints of coffee throughout. . It was a little bit lighter then some of the other big stouts I have had, but still could put a hurting on most any other. Rich milk chocolate, molasses and vanilla hints were the first right out of the gate. Very sweet with lots of lactose sugar like flavors coming in, probably from the oatmeal. A slight warming on the back of the throat, but other then that there was literally no hint of the alcohol what so ever. Really a fine quality stout here. Nice dry touches in the finish capped it off well and left a long lingering sweet coffee like taste in the mouth

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Photo of MasterSki
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to papat444 for this one. Poured in a Selin's Grove pint glass. Bottled June 15th, 2009.

A - Pours with three fingers of dark mocha foam that dissipates slowly to a thin cap and thick ring. Some nice patchy lacing as well. Pitch black body with only the slightest hint of dark brown at the fringes.

S - Dark fruits and berries, some light smokiness, dry roast, some lactose, and sugar cookie. Not the biggest smell, and not as sweet or milky as you'd expect from this style.

T - The taste is a little nicer, with more chocolate and cream flavors coming out. Some nice fruitness, but also an odd lactic sour and earthy aftertaste that I'm not entirely sure fits. I suppose I'm forever skewed by the diabetic Three Hour Tour, but this is trending more into English Stout territory.

M - Light carbonation tingle, medium body, very soft and smooth. Right on for the style, but sufficiently big for the 9%.

D - This is an easy drinker. Killing the half-liter by myself would be no problem. I just wish the taste/aroma had a little more oomph and a touch more sweetness. I'd drink this one again if I were up in Quebec.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewpub enjoyed two nights later in a beer wasteland.
Rich creamy smooth chocolate and roasty caramel with just a hint of sweetness. Nice beer!

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Photo of liamt07
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from ZorPrime, thanks again brother. 500ml glass into a pint glass, bottled on September 1, 2010.

First pour on this yields a massive 4 finger light brown head, that billows and sits above the glass and just wont settle, not an aggressive pour by any means. Retention is out of this world, and leaves alot of lace. Body is a very dark brown, bordering on black with the slightest dark orange highlights at the edges. Smells of rich milk chocolate, cocoa and a bit of coffee. Maybe a hint metallic. Head is still sitting here, hard to get my nose in! Tastes of bitter chocolate, rich and full, maybe some dark fruits (and chocolate covered berries?) here too and some molasses or licorice adding some sweetness. Again, a bit of metal. Medium-low carbonation, fairly smooth and pleasant overall; would've liked it thicker. Can't taste the alchy by any means, and fairly drinkable, but 1 is probably enough at a time.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with 2 fingers of bubbly light brown head that slowly receded.

S - Roasted malts, light chocolate notes and a slightly off tart/sour smell. A weak overall nose.

T - Roasted, slightly burnt malts, bitter coffee, dark chocolate and sweet dark caramel. Sweet in the middle and bitter and dry in the finish.

M - Medium boy with a nice chew. At times, the body seems full. Light carbonation.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
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.


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Photo of Derek
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apparantly the winter 2006 version was 9% (same old label, abv corrected with a marker).

A: Black with a fluffy, tan head; good retention & lacing.

S: Chocolate; malty (bready with roasted nuts); light floral & alcohol.

T: Dark chocolate with a pleasant maltyness (reminiscent of Ovaltine), subtle roasted malt flavour, slightly smokey, molases. The residual sweetness is balanced with the roasted bitterness.

M: Moderate body is smooth & creamy with a slightly acidic finish.

D: Easily approachable, very drinkable, but somewhat filling.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into Corsendonk chalice nov28 2009

A black with a large long lasting mocha head that leaves decent lace. this would get a 5 if it left some more lace but it's sassy nonetheless

S lots of milk chocolate, mild coffee and some booze

T as it smells but with but with a sweetness to it that makes it near perfect. I pick up on a little licorice as it warms, and I like how no one thing overpowers, well balanced flavors

M silky and smooth, nice and thick need I say more?

D lots of wonderful small things add up for one great thing. no for real though this beer can hurt you if you let it

one of the better Canadian beers I've ever had. once people start taking notice of this brewer they will become a permanent member of the top 25 for Canada with little doubt

Edit: I guess my review put it over the top, #24 on the Canadian top 25 as of nov30 2009

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Photo of Viggo
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed the old 5% Vache Folle, too bad they don't make it anymore. Thanks to grub for sharing this 500ml bottle!

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black, huge and thick light brown head forms, leaves a ton of lacing on the glass, very sticky, settles to a thick ring, looks real nice. Smell is great, very milky, lactose, sugary, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, lightly smokey, some dark fruit, very rich and smells great. Taste is similar, very sweet at first, lactose and caramel, sugary, bit of banana bread, brown sugar, chocolate, some bitter roast, smoke, biscuit, sweet but balanced in the finish, real nice. Mouthfeel is great, medium to full bodied, very thick and milky, low to medium carbonation, silky smooth and the alcohol is very well hidden. Charlevoix is pretty underrated, this is a great beer. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of spinrsx
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - the beer pours a black/brown colours with a huge beige fluffy head. I can't make out a whole lot of carbonation due to the darkness. It has a excellent amount of lacing and the head sticks around for a while.

Smell - The first thing I can smell is hops. Also some sweet malts and caramel. It also has a floral citrus note blend that makes it smell very fresh.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a fantastic mouthfeel. It has just the right amount of carbonation to leave it feeling light, but also creamy and velvety. First thing I can taste is some chocolate and vanilla mixed in with some hops. The hops stay with it - making it slightly bitter until the end, but then it leaves a nice chocolate sweet aftertaste.

Drink - I can't believe this beer packs a 9% punch, you would hardly notice it other than the warming feeling. An absolutely fantastic beer that is a must try in my opinion.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

label-less, provided by bert from his recent canadian vacation

appearance: served in my ale asylum chalice - very dark body, full creamy beige head with lighter retention

smell: dark roasty aroma - chocolatey, lactose, belgian yeast, touch of booze, dark fruit

taste: interesting beer - like some sort of cross between a belgian strong dark, dubbel, and stout. There is lots of dark belgian yeast, dark fruit and fig, licorice, strong alcohol sting

mouthfeel: similarities to a belgian dark, alcohol heat, well carbonated

drinkability: ok

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Photo of tbeckett
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Broue HAHA. From notes.

A - Poured with a two finger creamy beige head. Nice and creamy head. Good film of retention and a little lacing. Black with medium carbonation visible.

S - Chocolate, milk chocolate, roasted malt and a little smoke.

T - Roasted malt, chocolate is quite strong, and a fairly sweet note.

M - Proper carbonation with a full body and a sweet finish.

O/D - Good but not great. I was expecting more. Fairly standard.

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Photo of dar482
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%

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.

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Photo of Rutager
3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance. Pours black with a 1 finger head that seems to last forever.

Smell. Sour caramel apple and roasty coffee.

Taste. Slightly sour chocolate. Old coffee, dark cherries and wood. Alcohol present.

Mouthfeel. Medium-high carbonation. Warming.

Drinkability. An okay drinker. A little sweet.

A good stout with interesting sour features.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.84/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

A strong Stout sweetened with lactose sugar. "Vache folle" means "mad cow."

Jet black with a tightly laced, coffee-colored cream head that cascades and rises. Awesome head actually, with good retention. Slightly acidic in the nose, with dark berries and some faint coffee and chocolate beneath. Bitty and prickly on the palate, but creamy beneath, with a firm, full body that's a bit chewy, too. Sharp carbonation and roastiness up front. Mild astringency. Rich notes of dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, some toffee, earth, bark and smoke. Burnt raisins, too. Sweetness is well rounded and tame, with a distinct, semi-sugary, lactose character. No discernible hop presence, but we didn't expect one. Hints of dried cherries and pronounced alcohol as the beer warms. Lingering, dry chocolate in the finish.

Nothing to get mad about here. This is a delicious Milk Stout that crosses into Imperial Stout territory and is a must try if you find yourself in Québec.

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Photo of papat444
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As of now, i've made it halfway through the Top 100 of Canada.

Poured from a 500ml. bottle, bottled 2011/12/08.

Appearance: Massive light brown head that bubbles and exposes lacing all over. Dark brown the color of the body. Each pour gives more head.

Smell: Chocolate, not too sweet.

Taste: Hit at first with milk chocolate mixed with oatmeal. Milky coffee as it warms. Almost like a stout milk shake. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation starts strong for the style but quickly calms down. Body is silky smooth, robust throughout yet is never heavy.

Overall: A different type of stout. Literally like a milk shake a bit. Very good stuff.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark dark mahogany colour, solid thumb of very fine bubbled mocha head with solid retention and leaves some fine bubbled tacky lacing on the glass.

S - Bitter chocolate with a stronger espresso finish. Faint scent of cherries and leafy greens also detectable, with a bit of alcohol also noticeable.

T - A very tasty offering, though I found it slightly metallic. The high ABV is extremely well hidden under coffee grounds, bitter chocolate with earthy undertones. There's a bit of a bitter-sweet finish on this one with the coffee aromas lingering one the tongue. YUM!

M - This one goes down quite smoothly, perfectly carbonated and the finish is not dry or overly bitter. Very enjoyable!

D - This one is surprisingly drinkable, especially given the higher ABV content. A very enjoyable offering and highly recommended. The flavours are quite tasty holding bold characteristics that are delicious but non-offensive.

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Photo of blackie
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: piraat snifter, finger-width beige head, thick and creamy, good retention, the mahogany brown appearing nearly black in color

s: prune and raisin with roasty bakers chocolate, moderate lactose, slight wood char with a delicate smokiness, mild sweet alcohol but nowhere near boozy, subtly hopped

m: carbonation moderate with a medium body, seems slightly thin

t: dark bakers chocolate, dark fruit skins, raisin and prune, roasty, with an undercurrent of licorice, slightly smoky, balanced lactic sugars, cleans up well with a long finish of dry chocolate, cleanly earthy hop bitterness

d: a very nice milk stout that drinks easily given the abv

500 mL from Depanneur Peluso in Montreal

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Photo of hopdog
3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle acquired in trade with Sammy (thanks!).

Poured a dark, dark brown color with a huge sized off white head. Aromas of roastiness, chocolate, lactose, some coffee, and slightly earthy. Tastes of chocolate, caramel, licorice, and lighter roastiness. I also noted root beer candy. Thinner body with the alcohol content well hidden.

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La Vache Folle - Milk Stout from Microbrasserie Charlevoix
91 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.