Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Very Mad Cow | Revolution Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
73 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Very Mad CowVery Mad Cow

Brewed by:
Revolution Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mad Cow Milk Stout aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels for 7 months.

Added by cadaugherty on 12-21-2010

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 520
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with a smooth bourbon finish and a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is really tasy and smooth.

 509 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was sent time from mjmadsen21, major thanks on this one man! This beer poured out as a nice looking black color with a brown head on top. There is a moderate retention and lacing. The aroma on this beer is huge, it screams bourbon, it's sweet and boozy and strangely addictive. The taste of the beer follows the nose, lots of bourbon, chocolate and vanilla with a boozy wooden flavor in the finish. The mouthfeel is pretty slick, lightly carbonated and finishes with some ethanol heat. Overall I loved it, I think if anything there is maybe too much bourbon and it masks the a dual beer, but either way I thought it was great.

 631 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft serving at Revolution.

Black in the glass, thin off white tan colored head that didn't stick around for long, not surprising considering the abv. A thin skim and ring around the edges is all that's left behind.

Aroma is straight up bourbon, brown sugar and coconut sweetness with some toasted oak and booze. Definitely strong, this batch.

Any nuance that Mad Cow had is completely obliterated by the barrel this time around. It's straight up Woodford, with some feeble cocoa and mild roasty stout notes peeking through. Definitely lost any smooth creaminess and sweetness, it's astringent and boozy from the barrel. Flavors are still good, just a bit harsh and bourbon focused. Seems like it would benefit from a little blending with standard-issue Mad Cow to smooth the rough edges.

 794 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub - December 27, 2010.

Pours near black with a thin mocha head that persists for a bit before falling to a thin cap. The nose brings a very strong bourbon presence. A bit heavy on that and the booze right now, though it is nice. I think this will develop well, it just needs a bit more time. The taste adds a bit more complexity with a bit of roasted malt and some chocolate. A bit of sweetness counteracts the boozy nature of the beer. A bit too much alcohol in the feel, but is nice and rich. Drinks pretty well overall. Wish I had a bottle or two to age for a bit.

 588 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Why would you wanna piss a cow off that much, anyway? Regardless, this stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate cake, bourbon, and a twinge of coffee. The taste brings in more of the same, along with some light cardboard and some mild roasted malts. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid-ish feel. Overall, a generally tasty and enjoyable beer. I wouldn't say that the barreling really injected the base with a significant amount of better-ness, but it certainly didn't hurt it.

 597 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep brown, almost black. Big off white head. Nice surface lacing and a medium collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Milk chocolate. Oaky.

Taste - Sharp bourbon flavor. Lingers throughout. Just some chocolate behind it. Otherwise it's all bourbon.

Mouthfeel - Overcarbonated. Slight bite from the whiskey.

Overall - I like the bourbon, which makes this enjoyable, but there's not much else to it.

 438 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Goose Island Stoufest. Out of all the strange Goose one-offs, BCS variants, etc. this might have been my favorite beer. Served in a taster glass.

A - Pours with a big persistent tan foam that settles to a thin cap, leaving splotchy lace. The body is a very, very, dark brown that is a bit lighter at the fringes. Good looking brew!

S - Tons of barrel notes - coconut, butterscotch, whiskey - meld perfectly with lactose sugar, roasted grains, cocoa, and some earthiness. I just kept smelling this one all afternoon - a reference quality barrel-aged milk stout.

T - Taste is a bit of a letdown, but still quite solid. Lots of milk chocolate, roasted grains, butterscotch, and a little whiskey bite. Perhaps a bit muddled and understated.

M - Smooth, lower carbonation, medium body. Finishes quite sticky. It could stand to be a bit creamier, I suppose, being a milk stout and all.

D - This stuff is awesome. I went back for numerous pours throughout the event. I hope it makes a reappearance at the pub soon (and that they allow growler fills).

 1,058 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Very Mad Cow is a great off shoot of the original. The bourbon definitely is present in both the scent and taste. Not surprisingly the beer poured an opaque back with tan head that did not lace. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall....very nice.

 281 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated Nov 12/12. Thanks to Robbie for this one.
Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with two fingers of light brown head.

S - Roast and sweet milk chocolate dominate with oak, vanilla and a touch of bourbon in the background.

T - A big hit of bourbon and charred oak up front followed by a huge sweetness. Milk chocolate, roast and molasses flavours are present. At first the flavours seem well integrated but after a while they start to seem disjointed and the sweetness becomes somewhat cloying.

M - Medium body but somewhat watery at times. Moderate carbonation.

 608 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark chocolate brown, leaves a thin toffee colored layer and a marginally thin and delicate toffee colored ring on the glass.

S - Light chocolate, cherries, light oak, light vanilla, bourbon, light chocolate.

T - Matches the nose: perfect balance between bourbon, oak, vanilla, light cherries, and has very light alcohol and pleasingly lingering aftertaste with caramel, oak, and bourbon vanilla that's not at all overpowering.

M - Velvet smooth on the palette.

O - Exceptional and underrated when considering the overall score. This beer is a real find.

 562 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage 22 oz bomber shared with a friend; poured into my trusty Bell's tulip today 4/12/2013.

Aroma: Sweet milk chocolate, a good bourbon and oak presence. A little vanilla. Not super pungent but not weak either. Nice on the nose. (4)

Colour: Pretty average looking milk stout. Dark cola colour, very dark with 2cm beige head that disappears within the minute leaving a beige film but barely any collar. And the lacing is minimal. So pretty average for a BA milk stout. (3)

Flavour: Sweet as heck, bourbon presence throughout from the beginning. As it warms up, more bourbon comes out as well as the milk chocolate sweetness which is probably the lactose. There is a decent bit of vanilla which is really nice and is the cherry on top and comes out the most at room temperature. The oak comes out more at the end. Very nice combination of bourbon and milk stout, probably the best I've had. But then again there isn't a ton of BA milk stouts. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: Thinner medium body, tastes quite creamy but not particularly thick. Aftertaste is a decent bit of bourbon and oak (or could it be just the bourbon? since the oak is part of the bourbon...) not particularly intense but comes with a pleasant dry finish and a little bit of heat at room temp. (4)

Overall: Very drinkable barrel-aged milk stout. The sweetness is really good at complementing the bourbon and malt flavors. It's a very enjoyable beer to drink after dinner and that's really its main role. I very much enjoyed the relative balance of sweetness and bourbon. (4)

 1,542 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours opaque, dark brown in color, with 1/4 inch head. Taste is oak, dark and sweet chocolate, vanilla, sugar, and whiskey. Very tasty and sweet. High quality beer along the lines of other Revolution's barrel aged beers. Not as good as Blue Gene, but amazing nonetheless. I will look for this again.

 304 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into cascade hybrid tulip / snifter glass.

Appearance: light black bodied beer with a full finger of off white almost tan colored head. drops quickly to a thin cap.

Smell: really nice barrel notes pair with that trademark lactose sweetness of a milk stout. Lots of vanilla and oak. Sweet bourbon too.

Taste: bourbon forward stout. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, oak, milk chocolate, and totsie rolls. More bourbon in the aftertaste with a hint of tobacco and leather. The lactose sugar seems to linger even longer than the bourbon, tobacco, or leather notes do.

Mouthfeel: low end of a medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. Its nice and silky. The carbonation is appropriate just wish it was a little thicker mouthfeel. Just a hint of booze and no harsh burn at all; really easy drinking barrel aged stout.

Overall: This is a great BA stout by Revolution. I like Bean Gene much better though. My biggest hold up is the thin body. Other than that this was a great brewery only offering from the windy city!

 1,030 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a near pitch black color. Produced some nice tan froth and some lacing as it dissipated.

(S)- A lovely combo of a creamy but chocolatey raisin and vanilla oakiness. Its not super complex but really quite sexy.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. It really does have a sexy profile overall. Quite creamy with underlying notes of vanilla, raisin, and gingerbread. Finishes almost dry with superb oak and bourbon notes.

(M)- A smooth carbonation level. A really nice balance to it. Such a nice smooth underlying creaminess to this (base beer), that it really mellows out.

(O)- Overall, a superb barrel aged stout. So smooth and creamy yet having great bourbon barrel notes. Sadly, this might get overlooked by all the other bigger barrel aged stout releases out there, but this is one great offering by Revolution!

 859 characters

Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz. A thick enough looking black pour, light tan head that retains well.

Aroma, Chocolate, lactose sugar and molasses. Light peaty barrel and vanilla.

Taste, milk chocolate, maybe a chocolate malt. Vanilla caramel and oak barrel. Some roast in the finish. A chocolate milkshake bomb with some light bourbon. Pretty straight forward and pretty nice.

Body is barely medium to me, but this seems to happen with many barrel aged sweet stouts. Cafe Royale comes to mind. Carbonation is good and abv is barely apparent. Drinks very easily.

Certainly worth trying, I bet this is even better on draft.

 599 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at On Photon...Light black beer, light tan head but not much there, low carbonation...Nice aroma with typical Woodford vanilla and bourbon, molasses and a hint of roast...The taste has a big bourbon bite on the front, but its quickly balanced by bitter chocolate notes. Very creamy, another nice depth twist, makes it very full and sweet though.

Another above average barrel aged from Cibak. This is worth trying.

 421 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kevin for splitting the bottle. It pours out pretty thick and viscous looking; essentially colorless, even at the edges, though it was kind of dark outside, so I didn't have the best lighting to compare it to. The tan-ish head faded pretty quickly, but was very easy to coax back to nearly a half-inch just by gently swirling the glass. Gotta love the carbonation, alive and waiting to be set free.

Milky sweet cocoa nibs jettison from the beer into your nostrils from the get-go, along with lighter straps of vanilla and oak. There's a strong, underlying creaminess that projects the cocoa essence of the beer very nicely. I really don't get *much* bourbon in the aroma; there might be a little bit hiding in there, but it's pretty buried from the abrupt chocolatey sweetness. Vanilla and oak itself shows up stronger than the bourbon, here. No complaints from me, though.

The taste is also built from that milk chocolate body; soft cocoa nib sweetness, cream, and a light touch of roast that sweeps in and out. The barrel sifts in between all of these other things, with hints of oak and vanilla once again reigning supreme. There is detectable bourbon on the palate, but not seven months of barrel-aging worth. I don't feel that a more robust bourbon or boozy presence would necessarily help at this point, though - the beer is quite nice as is.

The bourbon is an afterthought and is pretty much flushed from your palate once you finally get around to swallowing the beer. Oak, chocolate, creamy, residual sweetness, and a faint nuttiness close things out. The body could be a bit bigger, though it still feels pretty nice on the palate. Silky, smooth, and almost oily, I would have liked a bit more creaminess - I think it would have matched the taste a little more closely.

Pretty good sweet stout, and it has me curious to how the base stout tastes without the barrel aging. Sweet enough to be a sweet stout without reaching Chocolate Rain or Dark Lord levels of residual sugar. Though the bourbon notes were low-key, I'm taking that to be a positive, as I was pretty happy with the flavors that were pronounced in this one.

 2,144 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Darker brown beer that has a nice tan head. Little bit of lacing on the sides.

S - For a milk stout this smells awesome. Roasted grains and cocoa with some nice oak and bourbon. Less of a lactose and milk bomb, probably due to the barrel aging. Smells appealing.

T - Milk chocolate, impressive roasted notes, the nicest bit of bittering espresso to mellow the sweetness. Bourbon is more of a hint than a presence, not hot at all.

M - Smooth, lower carbonation, medium bodied, no complaints.

D - Like this a lot more than most milk stouts, found it very good and went back for at least one more pour before the night got hazy. Good stuff I would like to have again.

 672 characters

Photo of Dope
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appears to be a date stamped on the label but half of it is missing. Looks like it starts with April, so I'm assuming this is around 2 months old. 9.7% ABV

A: Pours a very dark brown, not quite black. Big fluffy light brown head. Head fades slowly leaving pretty decent chunks of fluffy lacing. Good head retention.

S: Nice sharp bourbon aroma with a bunch of toffee and burnt sugars. Burnt sugar reminds me of toasted marshmallow in fact. Hints of caramel and some milk chocolate. Spicy alcohol hit, almost reminds me of peppermint. My brain might be making that one up.

T: Bourbon up front but a lot mellower than in the smell. Burnt sugars, hints of toffee and caramel. Chocolate is more prominent here, a creamy sweet milk chocolate mixing nicely with the bourbon. Bourbon fades into the back end, leaving pure decadent milk chocolate. Small bourbon resurgence in the finish with again that sort of minty flavor and a bit of oak. A little booze in the lingering aftertaste as well with some more mintyness.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy.

O: Nice bourbon barrel milk stout. Don't get a lot of barrel-aged milk stouts. This one is nice, bourbon is quite prominent but very tasty (I believe Woodford Reserve? My favorite bourbon, so I'm biased). Interesting mint flavor, pretty mild but I'm curious where it comes from. It's similar to the mint chocolate flavor from the Stone Mint Chocolate Stout collaboration from last year. Tasty and enjoyable.

 1,463 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, with an apparent bottled on date 01/13/2015 stamped into the label, barely viewable. My first of the Deep Wood Series beers from Revolution Brewing.

Poured into a Big Eddy snifter glass.

A - It pours a surprisingly dark cola body; not the inky jet black liquid I imagined it would be. Opaque & dark in the glass, but not as thick as I thought it would be, I suppose. Less than a finger of khaki head that wanes to a ring. Scattered spotty lacing.

S - The aroma, my god, is heavenly. Huge huge huge oak and bourbon barrel aromas. Vanilla, oak wood, bourbon, must, caramel, buttery toffee. Smells like liquid candy.

T - The taste is the same: chocolate, vanilla, caramel, cream. The bourbon barrel aging has worked it's magic upon the base beer, which I've yet to try, so I'm unable to compare. Sweet, sugary, and semi-boozy, but the alcohol isn't too extreme. Mildly warming.

M - The feel is smooth, sticky, sugary, and creamy. Full-bodied, with moderate carb.

Overall, a decent bourbon barrel aged stout from Revolution. I look forward to trying more of their barrel-aged offerings.

Revolution Brewing Very Mad Cow -----4/5.

 1,153 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.44/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

bottled dated 01/16/15

smells ok - caramel and bourbon

taste is sour bad off milk bourbon roast chocolate

mouthfeel is flat thin

overall complete mess of a beer and with a price tag of $15 its a never again buy fool me once

 228 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber from Masterski. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
April 2013

APPEARANCE: A very clear brown pour yields a three finger, medium looking, foamy, off-white or light brown head with very good retention. Bistre brown in color, transparent, with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a thick foamy cap and leaves some sticky, foamy lacing down the glass. A good full wisp remains leaving lots of lacing down the glass. A very thin body and a touch foamy, but a nice head and solid lacing.

SMELL: Bourbon and oak with sweet cream, light caramel and some chocolate on the nose. Medium strength.

TASTE: Bourbon and oak, with sweet cream and lactose up front. Medium finish of bourbon and wood again, sweet, creamy lactose flavors again, caramel, coconut and hints of bitter chocolate as balance. Barrel and sweet flavors go well together, with a touch of bitterness as well. Not much roast and could be more forthcoming, but solid and enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little light on the palate, but creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. A bit of heat lingers as well. Could use some more weight, but this is creamy and smooth enough.

OVERALL: Decent stuff, but not overly special. I remember enjoying the original Mad Cow a bit more than this version. The milk stout has taken a bit of a back seat here and the barrel isn't all that impressive anyways, making this somewhat mild and mundane. Still, it was easy to drink and I'd drink another if it were offered. Cheers again Masterski.

 1,583 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The nose is filled with milky, creamy lactose-sweetness, chocolate, coconut and whiskey.

The flavor holds a whiskey sour cocktail tone, strong milk chocolate, coconut and vanilla. This is strong, smooth and delicious.

 218 characters

Photo of stortore
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. 2015 edition.

Pours dark, somewhat opaque. Not much head, with some clingy lacing. Smell is a good balance of bourbon aroma, roasted malts, chocolate. Taste mostly follows the nose with the malts leading the way, some chocolate, a little less bourbon than the smell, a hint of coffee. Pretty nicely balanced. Sweet, as expected. Very smooth, good mouthfeel. A touch thin, but not overly so.

Very enjoyable beer. Will likely be an annual purchase, although it's not as cost justifiable as some of the others in the Deep Wood series. Had the 2014 on tap and remember it seeming a little richer.

 636 characters

Photo of bcm75
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at the Revolution tap room, poured in a FFF teku. Aromas - very boozy with some vanilla and general sweetness. Body is thinner than I would like. Appearance not-quite-black. Sweetness - you'll know this is a milk stout. I found the carbonation level appropriate for the style.

 293 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Very Mad Cow from Revolution Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 520 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!