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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

207 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 20
Gots: 9 | 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)
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591


4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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).

Serving type: nitro-tap

09-04-2011 18:28:58 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of StoneTSR


4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2011 07:36:56 | More by StoneTSR
Photo of GarrettB


3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 19:47:26 | More by GarrettB
Photo of YourMomDrinksBud


3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 05:19:28 | More by YourMomDrinksBud
Photo of TheGordianKnot


3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 18:16:18 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of chugalug06


4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 01:54:55 | More by chugalug06
Photo of Bung


3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2011 02:10:23 | More by Bung
Photo of htomsirveaux


3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 04:58:17 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of bort11


4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 03:59:32 | More by bort11
Photo of KingPuuChuu


4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


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.


Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 02:45:59 | More by KingPuuChuu
Photo of biglite351


3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 23:34:08 | More by biglite351
Photo of jmvecchio1


3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 17:25:12 | More by jmvecchio1
Photo of birchstick


2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 03:54:04 | More by birchstick
Photo of u2carew


3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 01:07:15 | More by u2carew
Photo of readbaron


3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 05:54:32 | More by readbaron
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"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.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 14:19:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 01:27:27 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of SPThirtyThree


4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.)

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 00:54:07 | More by SPThirtyThree
Photo of GabrielM

New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle given as an extra from JMBSH, poured into a Riedel Bordeaux glass. Thanks again, Jason!

A - standard stout look - dark brown/black, with a quarter-inch cream colored head.

S - right off the top is semi-sweet chocolate, some vanilla cream, maybe a touch of cinnamon, and even a malty earthiness. Can't wait to taste it!

T - good, but a bit disappointing after the great nose. It almost smells better than it tastes. Don't get me wrong - all of the aromatic flavors are there, but weaker than I expected. Given its lower ABV, though, I suppose that is justified.

M - creamy, a tad sweet, but a little lite. I did, however, let it warm up close to room temperature and that seemed to add a little volume and/or depth to it.

D - definitely drinkable, almost to the point of being a sessionable stout. Not too sweet, not at all dry, but there are better examples of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2010 03:29:29 | More by GabrielM
Photo of Tone


3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Decent retention and poor lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight oatmeal, hops, hint of alcohol, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of a Milk / Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a slight dryness noticeable. Tastes of sweet malt, hops, roasted malt, hint of coffee, and a hint of dark citrus. Overall, the sweetness is present in aroma and the initial taste. That quickly abates, and what is left is reminiscent of a Baltic Porter.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2010 13:18:45 | More by Tone
Photo of bamadog


3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Jeff for bringing this one back from one of his many summer trips to Colorado. Review is from notes taken on 9/6/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is deepest, darkest brown/near coffee black; no head whatsoever despite a rather vigorous and tall pour; body is entirely opaque; no lacing is left behind, just a thin oily residue that slides back into the drink.

Smell: A nice and robust sweet syrupy chocolate with some hints of bittersweet chocolate as well; nice burnt and roasted maltiness with some hints of charred wood; nose is especially robust.

Taste: Not too bad -- the sweet and syrupy chocolate is right up front and the toasted and burnt/toasty malts and slightly charred wood flavors follow nicely; a very sweet and creamy flavor come along with the chocolate -- must be a much heavier dosage of lactose in the brewing process to thicken this one up a bit.

Mouthfeel: Definitely thicker than most other milk stouts (as mentioned in the taste as well), but still just a tad under what I would ultimately prefer; carbonation really has no presence and makes it come across as flat, and not that I care to have a very bubbly stout, but I do like a bit more than this; a fairly thick and moist stickiness is left on the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability: Overall, I give this one credit where it's due and believe that it's definitely better than most other milk stouts that I've had; makes for a nice dessert with that creamy and sweet flavor set.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2010 01:25:07 | More by bamadog
Photo of stakem


3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle care of my friend Ryan's recent trip back from his new residency in Durango Co. Thanks for sharing some of your new hometown's brew with me.

No indication of freshness or date coding but since it was picked up right from the brewery I have no worries about freshness. Poured into a snifter, this brew appears dark brown in color but when held up to the light it displays quite a bit of ruby clarity. A bit more than a finger's worth of tan head appears and receeds quickly leaving faint patches of lace about the glass.

The aroma of this brew is primarily dark roasted grains and smells of such with a slight indication of coffee. Fairly one dimensional in the nose initially. There is not much else to pick up on other than the smell that is quite similar to a package of freshly opened black patent. As it warms however, there are indication of lactose but it is quite faint along with trace amounts of unidentifiable hops.

The taste of this brew is a bit deceiving. Not much of the roasted grains comes through like I had thought. Upfront it has a sweetness of residual sugars mixed with chocolate malt and a bit of estery alcohol. As the brew sits inside the mouth, more of the lactose sweetness becomes aparent and blends with the flavors previously described. In the finish some slight roasty grain bitterness balances out the brew and leaves a long lingering aftertaste of coffee and bitter chocolate.

This is a medium bodied brew with moderate carbonation. Quite drinkable, there is no problem finishing the glass. However, it is a bit too forward with the lactose sweetness. More of the roasted grains would have been much more enjoyable with the lactose being a bit more faint instead of being so forward in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2010 00:10:43 | More by stakem
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A deep brown appearance, just what I want to see in a milk stout. Aroma of roasted coffee malts.

Taste, enjoyable, hits the smoothness of style, while not compromising any of the chewiness and dark roast resulting in a solid, yet smooth stout. Chocolate stands tall as well. Never massive, a great sessionesque stout for the weekdays. Drank these while skiing mostly.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2010 01:05:51 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Halcyondays


3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours black with a solid finger of off-white head, no real lace.

S: Lots of creamed coffee, some brown sugar, licorice. Smell is very much to style.

T: Definite milk chocolate and some coffee. Lightly acidic, not infected but it thins out the whole flavour and gives a lemon/chocolate combo that's weird, not off-putting but weird.

M: Thin and a tad acrid. Light-bodied, light carbonation.

D: Not a trainwreck of a beer, but comparing this to the wonderful Left Hand Milk Stout, it's playing in the minors.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2010 22:26:30 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of genek


2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured 12 oz bottle into a Pint. very dense malty brown, running to black. Slight brown with no lacing.

A - Malty & stale, though in a good way.

T - Spicy, Caramel malts come through. Weird watery aspect. Slight bitterness and a sweetness that doesn't seem like maltiness.

D - very quaffable and pleasantly smooth. A workingman's beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 21:04:37 | More by genek
Steel Toe Stout from Ska Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.