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Steel Toe Stout - Ska Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Steel Toe StoutSteel Toe Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

214 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 214
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 20
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co. visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 214 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of doughanson78
3.75/5  rDev 0%

On nitro at Local Option in Chicago.

A: Very black. One finger super creamy head. Decent retention and nice lacing.

S: huge dark fruits. Underlying chocolate and coffee.

T: Reminiscent of a quad. Dark fruits, cherries, figs and raisins. Sweet. Coffee finish.

M: Medium light body. Super creamy. Medium high carbonation.

O: Good, not great. Love the nitro. Amazing mouthfeel even though a bit light.

doughanson78, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Side of label has an area for date to be notched/stamped but has no such markings. However, neck stamped BEST BY 12/15/11, pretty much only visible when bottle is empty.

Appearance - Black body. Two finger light brown head with great stick and good retention.

Smell - Coffee, cream, and chocolate. As delicious smelling as this style always seems to be.

Taste - Sweet. Slight alcohol. Coffee body without being very bitter. Great balance. Mild-ish from what I've seen so far from the style.

Mouthfeel - Possibly a little more watery than other examples of the style, but still creamy and medium bodied. Slight solvent/astringent finish/aftertaste which is mild enough not to detract from it at all. Head offers both some frothy creaminess and some extra solvency.

Overall Drinkability - Decent example of the style. May not be the best option available, but if it's the only milk stout in your area, you won't be disappointed.

ZenAgnostic, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.6/5  rDev -4%

Poured more of a dark brown than black with some ruby highlights,a thinner mocha colored head atop.Sweet lactose and caramel aromas along with dark roast and some roasted nut.Nice and smooth feel with little carbonation,sugary flavors upfront wih caramel and molasses,a nice drying roastiness in the finish.Not overly complex but its smooth and pretty flavorful.

oberon, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of KansasBeerLover
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%

Poured into a pint ale glass.

Color is very dark brown. Head is very thin, which quickly disappears. Minimal lacing, with no carbonation.

Aroma is a mixture of chocolate and coffee, unburnt and pleasing.

Flavor is a bit light for a stout. Again chocolate, coffee and a hint of vanilla. Nice touch.

Mouthfeel is a little heavy, but smooth and lingers in the roof.

This stout is just what the label says, a working class milk stout. Great for the end of a hard day.

KansasBeerLover, Nov 01, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%

Received as an extra in a recent trade. (Cheers!)
Poured from 12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.
Best by: 12/15/11

Aroma: Light chocolate, cola, and coffee notes. Not bad in the aroma dept.

Appearance: Dark espresso brown. A very hard pour, however, results in VERY minimal bubbles. Looks like there's a significant carbonation issue with this one.

Flavor: Nice, sweet milk chocolate, some tootsie roll, and a vinous note. Bitterness is enough to provide a little bit of balance, but does not hang on through the finish.

Mouthfeel: A thick, slick, syrupy body, which is excellent for the style. Unfortunately, though, this one is highly under-carbonated; almost completely flat. This significantly diminishes the enjoyment of this beer.

Overall: On a positive note, the flavors and body of this beer are great. On the flip side, however, the serious lack of carbonation (not to mention any foam) is a big problem. The beer reminds me of a good homebrew that I've tasted prior to racking to the bottling bucket-- it's just not a finished product. If you can find it adequately-carbonated on draught, try it. Otherwise, I'd recommend avoiding this one.

mdvatab, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.9/5  rDev +4%

pours an abyssal midnight black letting absolutly no light through. a quarter inch mocha head. smells of dark roasted malts and alcohol. taste is so smooth, with a delicate mouthfeel expanding to every corner slowly and richly. this beer even has a bit of hop bitterness in the finish. not over the top sweet like some of these can be, very drinkable. fantastic!

StonedTrippin, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of molegar76
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Out of bottle just a bit cooler than room temp. Poured into a pint glass. Slight creamy head that disappeared to thin layer with light lacing. Color is super dark brown. Almost no light passing through. Smell is awesome. Chocolate maltiness with a starbucks coffeehouse smell. Taste is good with same choc maltiness with hint of cream and breadiness. Overall a pretty good brew. Good mellow aftertaste.

molegar76, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%

Served in a shaker pint glass at Local Option.

The 2011 Bachelor Party Extravaganza's keepin' Local Option bumpin', y'all! This proof pours a straight onyx topped by a finger of oatmeal foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, chocolate powder, a touch of molasses, and a vein of vanilla. The taste brings in more of the same, though the roast is muted a bit, and the molasses has dropped out almost altogether. Still, this stuff tastes pretty nice. The body is a straight medium, with a lovely nitrogenation and a subsequently really smooth feel. Overall, a rather tasty little stout, one that surely benefits from its straightforward recipe (and the nitro-tap treatment).

TMoney2591, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of StoneTSR
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%

I've been waiting for this one for a while. While living in Chicago (where we get plenty of Ska products) I never saw this beer. But now, living in Boulder, I see it all over and have been itching to get to it, but am just now, a month after the move, getting to dive in.

APPEARANCE: This thing is BLACK. I think it might even be more black than Bourbon County Stout. Absolutely zero light penetrates this beer. A light beige, half-inch head formed as soon as I poured it, but quickly slipped away leaving a few wisps of foam on top.

SMELL: Lots of coffee and lots of roasted malt. A bit of bread is also faintly detectable.

TASTE: Coffee is the star of this show and it builds from the front to the back of the sip until a strong, bitter coffee aftertaste is left on the palate. Along the way, hints of chocolate come through with the roasted malt from the nose lurking in the background.

MOUTHFEEL: The Steel Toe has a pretty lively feel for a stout. The carbonation provides a nice sparkle, but at the same time it has a certain smoothness to it that encourages much larger sips than I've used to taking. I haven't decided if that is a good or a bad thing yet.

OVERALL: At 5.4% this is a very sessionable beer and packs a ton of flavor into a beer without too much alcohol in it. It is very drinkable as well. I will be reaching for this again sometime very soon.

StoneTSR, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of GarrettB
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Sweeter and deeper in its chocolate tones than most milk stouts, the Ska Brewing Steel Toe Milk Stout is almost a dessert substitute. The coal black black body hints at the deep, enveloping chocolate flavors insude. In the nose I find scents of freshly unwrapped premium chocolate (the kind you cringe when buying, even if it’s for a special occasion) with chocolate malt and a nice, rich dairy freshness in the nose. The flavor is oozing with even more chocolate, more sweet than bitter, and recalls slices of decadent chocolate cake had at fancy dinners in the past. The boisterous carbonation washes away the flavors in the aftertaste, leaving behind a short but very intense burst of chocolate astringency. Milk stouts are engineered with lactose sugar in mind, but the Steel Toe is a special example of just how sweet a deep, dark beer can get with a heady dose of lactose. I never find it cloying, but I also know that a drink that sweet doesn’t seem like a beer sometimes. All the same, darn good drinking, and practically begging to be paired with a nice vanilla ice cream.

GarrettB, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of YourMomDrinksBud
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%

12oz bottle poured into a mug.

A- Ebony body with a creamy off white head. Deep red accents around the edges under intense light. About a finger and a half of froth that leaves excellent lacing. Carbonation is visibly streaming up the sides of my glass.

S- Chocolate, dark fruits, and vanilla.

t- tastes like chocolate milk made with bitter chocolate. Notes of coffee lead into dark figs. Finishes creamy and smooth with a hint of vanilla.

m- full bodied considering the abv and style. Very velvety and smooth, small alcohol presence but it is well masked.

o- A fine milk stout. Well balanced and easy drinking.

YourMomDrinksBud, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of TheGordianKnot
3.3/5  rDev -12%

Poured into imperial pint glass...

A- Very dark brown. Pours a finger light khaki head, very creamy and sticky.

S- Nice soft roasted aroma. Great milk chocolate covered caramels in there also. Wonderful smell.

T/M- Tart! Damn, why do so many milk stouts have this slightly sour dark fruit taste? Otherwise a subtle roast and burnt toast flavor. The flavor is all around weak. As it warms the tart drops off mostly but nothing else shines through to create a better profile. Medium/light body and moderate carbonation- not as creamy as I like them.

O- I've had better milk stouts but also worse. This one just didn't have a lot behind it to really make me think highly of it. It was decent and drinkable, but could have been better; especially if the tartness wouldn't have been so prominent for first half of the glass.

TheGordianKnot, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of chugalug06
4.2/5  rDev +12%

A - For a Milk Stout the appearance is quite good, nice supple lacing and pours a two finger head. Brew is purple color with lots of black. Head is close to white, quite interesting for the style.

S - Creamy, oaky, and rich. Lots of vanilla and caramel. Caramel dominated the grand majority of this brew. Awesome scent! Very smooth and lactic scent.

T - Great balance with malt and hop... Very smooth and elegant, definitely a breakfast beer! Definite chocolate notes, but not even close to overbearing. Caramel dominates along with good hop.

M - Overly carbonated, but doesn't take too much away from the brew. Light-medium bodied. Great flavor balance in this brew. No bitterness whatsoever.

O - This brew is awesome! Definitely the best Milk Stout I've ever had. Super solid, creamy, and rich; just like the nose represents. This is an awesome, well-rounded brew. A must try if you're able. Top of it's class.

chugalug06, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Bung
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

12 oz. Pretty standard black/brown. Smaller off white head, receded to almost nothing pretty quickly.

Aroma is milk chocolately, cocoa and some roast malt.

Tons of lactose sugar up front. Fades to a milk chocolate. Then some cocoa and very slight roast. There is a little off cardboard that seems to be the only flaw. Finishes with more chocolate. Just a bit too one sided for me really.

Just over medium bodied, coats ok. Carbonation staves off being too sticky, but doesn't quite overcome the sweetness of the brew. Goes down pretty easy still.

Worth trying this at a good price point.

Bung, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.75/5  rDev 0%

12 oz. bottle tried 11 Sep 2010. Poured in the 0.5 L Adambrau becker (RIP).

Medium sized light brown head. Moderate carbonation. Very dark brown with ruby highlights, not quite opaque. Aroma is sweet and roasty, cocoa, chocolate and lactose. Taste starts out similar to the aroma, becoming a bit coffeeish through the finish. Medium body. Creamy milky mouthfeel. Aftertaste of mocha espresso bitterness. Mild ethanol.

Should have got more than one bottle of this...

htomsirveaux, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of bort11
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%

12 oz bottle poured into a pub glass. A thick tan head stands about a half inch. It has the texture of whipped cream. Body color is a brown so dark it is nearly black. There are raisin colored highlights around the edges.

Smell has a mild milk chocolate aroma. Sweet with a hint of bitterness. The taste has a pronounced dark roasted bitterness, with an even more pronounced lactose sweetness. It is a perfect cafe mocha blend.

For me, the mouthfeel is the best quality of a milk stout, and this is no exception. The body is creamy and smooth. A very chewy texture, though goes down lighter than expected.

bort11, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of KingPuuChuu
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%


Poured a wonderful black with a a tannish-white head. Smells of toasted malt and espresso. First sip brings about dark chocolate & espresso in the back end. Slight hop bitteress.

Very smooth, due to the lactose. Slight carbonation. Excellent session beer, although a slow session beer. Perfect for late nights.


KingPuuChuu, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of biglite351
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%

A - considerable light through center of glass. Creamy off white head.

S - heavy roasted toasted malts scent. I get a touch of something metalic like someone else said.

T - toasted malts, multiple fruits, touch of chocolate. Complex but oddly crisp and clean flavor.

M - light coating but tingle over entire front of tongue.

O - all night drink.

biglite351, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of jmvecchio1
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

L - Deep brown, almost black with light brown head

S - Sweet chocolate and roasted malts, some metallic undertones

T - Milk chocolate, coffee, with lactic acid snap to it.

M - Medium with moderate carbonation.

D - Easy drinking milk stout for the working man. You could easily knock these back, but I tend to stop at one or two in a session.

jmvecchio1, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of birchstick
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%

A - pours a dark brown / black color without much of a head

S - smells of sweet, chocolate malts with a touch of roasted malt

T - the taste is similar to the nose in that it begins sweetly with the sweet chocolate malt and a touch of vanilla. This faded to some citrusy and spicy hops. These are all rounded out by a touch of roasted malt & coffee. Not bad.

M - a little thin and strangley carbonated - not a big fan of how this feels

D - pretty solid stout here. Nothing flashy, fits the style and has decent drinkability. I only bought a single of this and wasn't too upset about not having another on reserve. I would definitely drink it again, though.

birchstick, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of u2carew
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%

12oz longneck.
A) Pours dark mahogany in color. Head is a finger thick and tan. Settles to a big bubble lacing at the edge of the glass. Lacing is thin and sticky.
S) Roasted grains. Chocolate malt. Hints of coffee and bread.
T) Chocolate. Subtle coffee. Hints of milky sweetness. Finishes bitter.
M) Full body. Dry in the finish. Fairly smooth overall.
D) A decent stout. I'd drink another.

u2carew, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of readbaron
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

Pours a dark brown with only the smallest hint of head.

Smells of burnt coffee with malty undertones.

Tastes like it smells - prominently of coffee with some mellow malt underneath.

Mouthfeel is pretty good - a bit creamy, but lighter and thinner than I'd expect from a milk stout.

Quite drinkable, especially for the price.

readbaron, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%

"A champion of the working class has never been known to die of overwork."

--Robert Frost

Charred coffee bean brown with burnt orange edges... that becomes lucent black cherry when backlit with overcast morning light. The beige cap was small to start, but is hanging around in acceptable fashion. Lace... not so much.

The nose is a pleasure to sniff. The chocolate notes aren't so much milk chocolate as dark or bittersweet chocolate. There's also a generous amount of black coffee, which is a bit odd for the style.

Steel Toe Stout tastes like it smells. In other words, it's loaded with charred (in a good way) cocoa nibs and coffee beans. There is a slight background lactic tanginess, though not nearly to the same extent as in most milk stouts. Flavor intensity is definitely not an issue.

A little more depth and another flavor facet would be wonderful. On the other hand, only so much can be done when the ABV is 5.4%. A nip of herbal hop bitterness rushes in on the finish to keep things in easy drinking balance. Solid all around.

Mouthfeel is a tough call. In the end, it's a fraction light and loses a little too much mojo as the mouthful progresses. The bubbles neither help nor hurt.

Steel Toe Working Class Stout is more American stout than milk/sweet stout. Ska knows dark beer. Ten Pin Porter! and Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter as delicious as well. Worth a look.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint. Poured a deep brown/black with a thin off white head. Deep chocolate malt aroma. More chocolate malt in the flavor. Medium bodied. Smooth mouthfeel. Nice sweet finish. Very drinkable. If you like sweet stout, you should check this one out. Solid.

homebrewhawk, Nov 10, 2010
Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.2/5  rDev +12%

I'm excited to try this one, since I've only tried a handful of milk stouts, but they've all been memorable.

A: Freeing Steel Toe Stout from the bottle, it releases a half-finger, tan, razor-thin cap atop the deep mahogany brew. The head has a thicker collar around the edges and a geometrically-inspired globular cluster of mid-size bubbles in the middle. I would have expected a black beer, but I'm not disappointed.

S: The nose is everything you'd expect - plenty of toasted malt and roast barley, some sweet chocolate, a dash of espresso, and then something you wouldn't expect - a faint woodiness. The hop aroma is very restrained. Overall, the nose is pleasant but could offer more.

T: Delicious! Ska makes a great dessert beer with this one - sweet, creamy, and smooth. Everything the nose suggested, plus a hint of noble hops. The chocolate malt and roast barley play off each other perfectly, and a splash - maybe 30 IBU worth - of noble hops add just the right amount of bitterness to showcase the lactose.

M: The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, although a little thin. The hops produce a slight zing at the back of the tongue.

D: High. Both tasty and sessionable. I'd like to try this next to Left Hand Milk Stout to see how the two compare.

(Reviewed August 31, 2010.)

SPThirtyThree, Oct 12, 2010
Steel Toe Stout from Ska Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 214 ratings.