The Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery

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English Sweet / Milk Stout
Ranked #550
Ranked #19,672
3.9 | pDev: 8.46%
The Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery
Wisconsin, United States
Very Good
Notes: Our special smooth stout has inviting flavors resembling coffee, chocolate, and the warm appeal of roasted malts.
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 39 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of AlarmClock314
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in Mount Horeb, WI on 4/24/18. Review from notes. Appears brownish black with a khaki head. Smells and tastes of dark roasted malt, licorice, cocoa, coffee, and molasses. Medium, lingering bitterness and light dryness. Below average body and above average carbonation for the style. Overall, it’s roasty and on the bitter side, but could use a little more balance and body.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%

"Spetsnaz Stout." 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and unbranded pry-off pressure cap courtesy of the very generous Duff27. 6.70% ABV per the label. Aside from "stout," no style is identified on the label.

Served at fridge temp and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured into an Odell stem-tulip in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; this is my first beer from this brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Two fingers wide. Khaki-tan colour. Has a nicely creamy and thick consistency, with a soft complexion and even-keeled texture. Appealingly supple. No lacing sticks to the sides of the tulip as the head recedes.

Retention is pretty good - about 5-6 minutes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid black. Not quite a jet black, but very dark.

No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

It's an appealing appearance for a stout, but is far from unique or special. Looks like most stouts, with the benefit of a nice head.

AROMA: Better than I would have anticipated. Decadent oatmeal, wonderful cream, a kiss of roasted barley, beautifully integrated lactose sugar, dark malts, chocolate malts, and milk chocolate.

I don't detect any yeasty notes, hops, spices, or off-notes.

It's incredibly pleasant; I can't wait to try this. As it warms, I think I pick up on a kiss of faint coffee. It's such a mellow aroma. Mild in strength. Lovely for the style.

TASTE: Dark malts and chocolate malts comprise the core - a pretty standard approach to the foundation for a stout. Lactose sugar comes in and fills out the body nicely, with some complementary cream and milk chocolate in there too.

Sadly, no roasted barley or coffee enters into the profile; they're sorely missed.

Overall, it's an enjoyable albeit simple milk stout with a nice balance, but little in terms of complexity/intricacy and subtlety. Very straightforward for the style.

There is some faint hop character - evergreen and a bit of pine is all I find. Those are good hop choices for a stout.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Nice flavour amplitude.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, creamy, a bit silky, full-bodied, and thick. Luckily, it's not syrupy or sticky. I could use more softness and silkiness. Ideally, the creaminess would work against a roasted barley-induced coarseness and dryness, but then again this is a milk stout, and it's conventionally smooth.

Not scratchy, rough, oily, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or gushed.

This texture is a decent companion to the taste, but doesn't elevate the beer or highlight any flavours. The creaminess is nice, but I'd like more of a deliberate texture focused on bringing out the best in the beer.

A biteen overcarbonated.

OVERALL: It's likable drinkable milk stout. I'd prefer this were offered in 6 pack format; bombers are unnecessary. It does a decent job at hiding its ABV. I've certainly had better, but it's nice to know this is available in Wisconsin. It's a nice alternative to Left Hand Milk Stout, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again. Well worth trying for fans of the style, but it won't impress the discerning drinker.

High C+

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Photo of TheSSG
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a HUGE, dense, tan head. Roasted coffee in the nose, even the acidity is there; grassy hops behind it all. Black. Starts with a deep, roasted coffee, then moves into the flavor of coffee beans crushed by your teeth; rich, dry, and a bit earthy. There is a build of the hop bitterness (which is floral), which mostly just makes it taste acidic like coffee. The finish is just coffee and roasted malt.

There's hop bombs, and this is a roast bomb. I've never had anything this roasted outside of espresso. A bit light in mouthfeel.
Just great.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes from stout tasting.

A- thin black, light tan head with large bubbles.

S- sweet dark malts, slight almost mint aroma

T- nearly same as smell. Still has something I can't pick out, mint?

M- medium to thin.

O- ok. Hard to rate after black ops and abyss!

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Photo of Duff27
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- pours a thin light mocha head that dissapates quickly. Black/dark brown beer. Above average lacing.

S- a real faint sweetness, lactose sugar? Lovin the aroma.

T- touch of roastiness. slight sweetness on the tailend.

M- medium mouthfeel although it is creamy. Low carbonation.

D/O- Overal an above average milk stout. Recommended for fans of the style.

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Photo of znichols
3.32/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- lucid dark with a creme colored one inch head. A touch of lacing that hangs to the side of the glass for a short period of time. Looks a little watery for a stout.

S-smells like light roasted coffee with a dollop of milk and some sugar. But really, there's a touch of coffee bean and bakers chocolate in the smell with some herbalness too. Very nice aroma.

T-light roast right away. Almost an oatmeal flavor in the middle and a sweet finish kind of like a hersheys bar. Aftertaste is a little hoppy, actually. Pretty nice flavor.

M- somewhat thin for my taste. A touch overcarbonated for a deep flavored stout. More like a porter, but still not aweful.

O- I enjoyed this beer and might have it again if I want roasty flavor that's not too heavy. There's much better stouts out there but this sweet coffee tasting ale ain't bad.

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Photo of uwmgdman
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This stout is jet black with a nice sticky tan head. The aroma is moderate-high roasted malt, a bit of coffee. The flavor is an intense burst of roasted malt, coffee, yet the sweetness of the beer provides nice balance the bitter roasted malts. The body is full and creamy feeling, with medium-low carbonation, very nice. Overall a well made stout, with good flavor with great mouthfeel, I could have a couple of these, recommend.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. It pours a deep brown and appears black and opaque. A 1 inch mocha colored head forms and slowly reduces leaving a large full coverage lacing.

The aroma is great with the primary component being a dark chocolate sweetness. Some roasted coffee components also. Not the sweet/milky I was expecting, but very good.

The taste comes through on the milky lactose components, which are nicely blended with a dark chocolate and coffee bitterness, which combines with a bit of hops. An interesting bakers chocolate component a couple of minutes later is present.

The mouthfeel had a frothy carbonation feel to it. It is creamy with a medium/full body. Well balanced and leaving a nice dryness at the end.

Overall, this is an easy to drink and solid beer. Everything about it is good and the ABV is not real prominent. I could definitely enjoy this one again.

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Photo of DeeMented
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Grumpy Troll brewpub.

The beer arrived in a pint glass. It appeared dark and opaque black, with a thick, tan head. Lots of lacing on this one.

The smell was very toasty; roasted malts and bit of chocolate. Slightly sweet, slightly earthy, there was also a hint of coffee as it warmed. Very nice aroma.

The mouthfeel was smooth, if slightly on the thick side. Good carbonation that really opened things up.

The taste wasn't overly sweet, but leaned toward bitter chocolate with a mild hops bitterness and a coffee finish. The toasted effect lingered long after the hops faded. It tasted like a big beer, but the alcohol content made this a very sessionable brew.

Overall, a very impressive stout that rates right up there with the big boys on the "Best of BA" list.

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Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this at the brewpub yesterday, guess it's not currently distributed to stores.

Pours black in the glass, the beer had a woody mahogany tinge when it caught the light. There was a generous amount of foam that rose evenly, leaving creamy textured lace in it's wake. An attractive crescent ring is left after awhile. Slightly sweet and mellow coffee aroma. Soft mellow feel, earthy roast aftertaste and bakers chocolate bitterness. Pleasantly mellow chocolate flavors are what dominates to me. As it warms it feels slightly fuller with medium to low carbonation. A surprisingly good stout that I would definitely buy again if it had distribution to the Madison area.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.67/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My brother picked up a bomber of this in Wisconsin and left it in my fridge. Grumpy Troll Spetsnaz is a brownish black beer with a thin film of a coffee colored head that has some pretty nice lacing. It has a nutty and roasty aroma that's a touch sweet and quite pleasing. It's pretty full bodied and very smooth. The finish is very dry. It has a mellow roasted flavor. It's well balanced and very flavorful. Coffee seems to be the strongest note here. The bitterness is light and grassy. It starts dry, but there is a bit of sweetness at the finish. This is excellent.

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Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color with only the faintest dark brown along the bottom of the glass. One inch head of a tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight hops, and maybe some nut aroma as well. Fits the style of a Milk / Sweet Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with a strong bitterness and slight tartness as well. There is also a higher than average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, alcohol, sweet malt, hints of coffee, with some hops in the background. Overall, a great blend, the alcohol is present but not overpowering. This was amazing on tap and pretty damn good in bottle after a harsh road trip back to Missouri through some blistering heat and erratic air-conditioning.

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Photo of hopdog
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub. I had this one side x side with the BA version.

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, and lighter coffee. Tastes of roast, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. Lacing left on the glass.

Notes from 7/21/08

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Photo of Atron67
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 2 L growler a week ago on a visit down there, decided to open this up for some afternoon drinking. It was 10.50 for the growler fill. 9 for a normal but 2 l growlers get an extra 1.50 charge for some reason. I loved the brandy aged spetznaz so im expecting good things

Review 300!

A- Poured a creamy silky looking black with a big brown head on top that stuck to the glass pretty well and the head slowly fell over maybe 5 minutes

S- lots of roasted character and chocolate. pretty strong coffee notes as well. its an all around great smelling stout

T- big dark character, smooth roasted characters, very dominant throughout. a bitter chocolate rises up with the roasted character flavor but fades out while the roasted character stays on top. then there is a decent hop bitterness that comes in at the end which gives it a nice roasted bitter finish. the roasted character even manages to linger around after the fact.

M- pretty full body, however not as creamy as the BA version, but no surprize

D- glad i got the 2 L's hehe, its gonna be a sweet afternoon

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In short, I thought this beer was awesome. This beer had a touch of sweetness, and a ton of dry roastiness that was clean, dry, and offered plenty of the "burned pizza crust" character I crave.

The beer appeared opaque and thick, with a medium amount of head. Aroma was a bit chocolatey, and offered a ton of dry roastiness. Flavor and mouthfeel was terrific, and as I've described above.

I thought this beer alone was worth the trip to Mount Horeb.

I had this on draft at the brewpub.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool name, I guess in Russian it would be Войска специального назначения – спецназ or Special Forces RIS, as it is named after the Russian Special Forces.

Great Label: CCCP over a hammer and sickle with Spetsnaz below.

At the brew pub this was listed as a RIS but the website lists it as a sweet stout. After contemplating the pint I drank a few nights ago, I would have to agree with the website. This didn’t seem big enough to qualify as an RIS, not quite anyways, especially at 6% ABV.

Appearance: Big brown froth over an ominous black, almost completely opaque body.

Aroma: Very fragrant with loads of sweet milk chocolate in the nose and plenty of roasted coffee and grains to boot. Sweet but balanced aroma with a noticeable amount of hops.

Taste: First and foremost this beer is rich with milk chocolate. The flavors are large and delicious but the sweetness is nicely balanced by a deep roasted oats character and coffee bitterness. The finish has a hop dryness but isn’t really bitter.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth with a sweet front and balanced finish.

Drinkability: Quite good.

Update, 05-21-07: This beer is now listed as an export stout by the Troll.

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Spetsnaz from The Grumpy Troll Restaurant and Brewery
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 39 ratings