Mother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel Aged
Keegan Ales

Mother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel AgedMother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel Aged
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Style:
Stout - Sweet / Milk
ABV:
6%
Score:
86
Avg:
3.73 | pDev: 14.75%
Reviews:
13
Ratings:
55
From:
Keegan Ales
 
New York, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  1
Gots
  20
SCORE
86
Very Good
Mother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel AgedMother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel Aged
Notes: Inside this bottle is a collaboration of two great New York artisanal beverage makers. We aged our award winning milk stout in Widow Jane Bourbon barrels, which is distilled using water from the Widow Jane limestone caves of Rosendale, NY (just a stones throw away from our brewery).

One night after a few beers and bourbons, the idea for this collaboration was born, resulting in something magical, something special. We hope you enjoy this marriage of passions as much as we do.
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 55 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DVMin98
DVMin98 from North Carolina

3.17/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2 year old bottle. Look is dark brown with a very puffy head, even with a gentle pour. Smell is mostly roasted malts. Flavor is some sweetness, but little to no bourbon. Very thin for a stout. Would definitely like more bourbon and a thicker body. Very disappointing.

Jan 23, 2017
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kojevergas from Colorado

2.58/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

"Bourbon aged Mother's Milk" "Milk stout aged in bourbon barrels" "a collaboration with Widow Jane Distillery"

BOTTLE: Purchased at a bottle shop in Brooklyn. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz format with a blue wax-ed over swingtop. (I always love to see breweries put bourbon barrel aged stouts in smaller format bottles for drinkability's sake - I rarely want to take down a large format bottle of a heavy brew like this one - but I guess a swingtop on a large format bottle is a compromise between the two). 6.39 x 10 BBLs made. Paper label with a white and blue motif.

No ABV listed on the bottle. No description of how long it spent in barrels. No ingredients listed.

Served chilled into a nonic and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

Foam surges out upon opening - maybe these swingtop format bottles aren't a great idea after all.

HEAD: Occupies 90% of the glass, indicating blatant overcarbonation. Tan colour, somewhat creamy and somewhat soft in appearance, with a poor complexion and a consistency that isn't very robust. Retention is good (as one would expect in an overcarbonated beer) - ~10 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast or sediment within. No haze or cloudiness.

Appears overcarbonated. Not a great look for a milk stout (bourbon barrel aged or otherwise).

AROMA: Lactose sugar. Faint chocolate malt. A blip of vanillin. Whoppers-like malted milk ball notes. Caramel. That's it. No real dark malt presence at all, nor any roasted barley (let alone overt bourbon barrel notes). I'm already skeptical about how long this spent in bourbon barrels, but I guess as it comes to temperature I pick up on some barrel sugar sweetness - or maybe that's just hopefulness.

Aromatic intensity is low, suggesting a weak shallow milk stout with a reticent (if present at all) bourbon barrel character. Not great for the premise or the style.

True to style, there are no overt hop notes or off-flavours. Not boozy at all.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Its pleasant softness on the palate doesn't save this beer from its shallowness and simplicity, though the execution of the mouthfeel easily exceeds that of the taste. A simple core of malted milk balls/Whoppers-like notes, lactose sugar, and chocolate malt is really all that's here, though I guess maybe there's some barrel sugar sweetness from the ostensible bourbon barrel aging...I doubt this spent much time at all in bourbon barrels.

I find no roasted barley, vanilla, oak, or coconut (as one might expect in a bourbon barrel aged stout), let alone more refined complexities like coffee, caramel, et al.

On the sweeter side, but then it is a milk stout. Still, I'm reticent to call it balanced. Speaking of "reticent," depth of flavour is poor; each note lays flat on the palate, lacking any verve or nuance. Very straightforward, though flavour duration is above average. Flavour intensity is average for a milk stout (and low for a bourbon barrel aged beer of any style).

Texture is standard - smooth, wet, medium to full-bodied, unrefreshing...and of course, overcarbonated. A silkier (still) softer feel on the palate would be better, but that's the least of this beer's problems.

The absence of any beneficial bourbon barrel notes whatsoever aside, it's still a pretty mediocre milk stout, offering nothing to compete with widely distributed ole reliables like Left Hand's Milk Stout or more limited brews like Lakewood's Temptress. There's just nothing here (aisde from its bourbon barrel marketing) to entice the discerning drinker.

OVERALL: A milk stout put in bourbon barrels for seemingly barely any time and then bottled in the cash-grab 1 pint 9.4 fl oz format, Keegan Ales' mediocre Bourbon Aged Mother's Milk makes for a great case study in 2016 beer marketing but a poor choice for a night's sipper. A beer I'm disappointed to have bought and one I'd caution others from picking up. It's not that it's that bad; it's just so uninspired and fails to deliver on its premise to any real extent. I can't blame Keegan for cashing in on the bourbon barrel stout craze - but I can tell others not to buy this.

C- (2.58) / BELOW AVERAGE

Nov 10, 2016
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A2theK728 from New York

2.94/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Very disappointing. Taste good, but no fizz at all. Like a soda that went flat. In other words I would have enjoyed it more BEFORE it went flat. Too bad it was always that way.

Apr 17, 2016
Photo of farrago
farrago from New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The pour barely creates a head at all, thin surface dusting of tan coloration, zero lacing. The liquid oddly shows a lot of bubbles clinging to the glass sides and rising bubbles near the surface, otherwise it’s a murky, sort of unfiltered black rather than brown, yellowish rims. Medium-bodied, very flat mouth feel, inert and dull. The flavors are mainly cocoa, milk chocolate and a hint of butterscotch, really not getting much bourbon barrel influence at all. Milky and bready like a scone, more of a charcoal char than pungent smokiness. Turns nutty through the finish. In terms of texture the carbonation is close to nonexistent, the feel is smooth in general and only slightly woody. The finish is truncated and weak. Does not give you much to write about.

Mar 04, 2016
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smanson56 from New Hampshire

3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle that had been in my cellar for a little over a year. Almost a gusher when opened with foam coming to the top of the bottle. It poured with a very thick and foamy tan head. The nose is of the bourbon barrel. Very few notes from the stout itself. The taste follows suit as the bourbon overpowers most of the flavors of the stout. More like a bourbon with stout flavors. The mouth feel is good. All in all not a great stout unless you really like bourbon which I do but it really left me wanting more in the way of a good stout.

Nov 09, 2015
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metter98 from New York

3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a finger high tan head, that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of straight bourbon are present in the nose along with hints of lactose. The bourbon becomes a little stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of lactose with notes of bourbon and some hints of chocolate, the latter of which become a bit stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint bits of warming are perceptible.
O: I'm not sure what the alcohol content of this beer is, but it drinks rather easily for a bourbon barrel aged beer. Normally I prefer my bourbon barrel aged beers to have vanilla flavors, but the straight bourbon flavor meshed well with the underlying milk stout, mostly mellowing it out compared to when you have a straight shot of bourbon. The bourbon definitely compliments this beer, and makes it pleasant to sip.

Serving type: bottle

Oct 13, 2015
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Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a speiglau stout glass.

Look is pitch black with a thin tan head.

Aroma is roasted dark malt with strong bourbon aroma.

Bourbon holds strong on the taste with a roast malt end and a thin body.

It's nice to have a solid sub 8% bba stout.

Oct 10, 2015
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dd43 from Connecticut

3.79/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a really nice rendition of Mother's Milk. As another person at the tasting where I had this suggested, being served the barrel aged version on a nitro line would be fantastic. Nice silky mouthfeel on this beer. The aroma profile was not as pronounced as I was hoping for, when you think barrel aged you tend to expect something bigger. There is a nice malt base here, and the lactose helps to keep it smooth, but the roast and vanilla/honey sort of things I was looking for weren't substantial. The barrel quality was nice in terms of adding a warmth, a woodiness to the mid palate, and that elevates this over the base beer, but not by a wide margin.

Bonus points for an awesome swing-top bottle, with an attractive wax cap which matches the labeling theme.

Sep 12, 2015
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MattSweatshirt from Texas

3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown body and a big fluffy khaki head that leaves a lot of lacing.

Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit on the nose.

There is some bourbon heat and flavor to it. Caramel, chocolate, and cherry.

Really well carbonated and medium bodied.

Not compelling enough for me to want to finish a 750 of this stuff. Was expecting something akin to my local bourbon barrel aged milk stout and this definitely isn't close. Everything just sort of melds together into nothing exciting.

Jun 03, 2015
Photo of CHickman
CHickman from New York

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with some sediment floating in it that leads up to a foamy 2-3 finger tan head that had lots of popping bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving a little spotty lacing. Every pour had the great big foamy head that stuck around, which was nice to see for a milk stout.

Smells of bourbon up front with nice oaky notes and molasses that give off charred wood and smoked grains; the next wave of the aroma is cocoa powder, light vanilla, booze and earthy, leafy notes like dry floral hops or weed before it shifts back to oak, smoke and bourbon. Nose is nice and even has some soft chocolate milk hints that mix well with the bourbon barrel influence.

Taste is similar to the nose but more complex with additional dark chocolate and coffee notes to go along with the bourbon, oak, caramel, molasses, charred wood, burnt grains, cocoa powder, vanilla, peppermint, earthy dirt or peat moss, dry floral hops and more smoky bourbon that almost seems like it was poured over oatmeal. The milk stout keeps a nice presence (the lactose is there) and blends well with the bourbon, barrels and chemical reaction from all aspects of both the brewing and aging process. Super smooth with minimal heat from the booze, not sure how old this bottle is but after another year I bet it would age very well and flow down like chocolate milk. The bourbon is strong but not overpowering, working well with the blend.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth, with a chewy, medium to heavy body and feel, little to no carbonation and a slightly bitter smoky/oaky aftertaste that has a sweetness and bourbon booziness which lingers.

Overall I thought this was really damn good and different. Wasn’t sure the bourbon barrel aging would work with a milk stout, yet the end result is a very smooth and mellow combination of 2 stout styles that produced a fine sipping brew. I’d like to pick up another bottle if I can find one and age it as I think it would get better. Only knock might be that this was expensive for a bomber, about $22; other than that, I highly recommend trying this beer.

Apr 14, 2015
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cosmicevan from New York

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle found locally. very few of these escaped out to LI, felt very fortunate to have stumbled across this since i was really curious.

a - usually don't go into packaging when talking about appearance, but this definitely plays into the experience. it comes in a waxed swing top 750, which may look cool, but opening that thing is a bitch and when you finally do get it open, there is no doubt that some wax went flying some where (watch your eyes kids). the brew pours a watery black, head is grey foamy and leaves soft clumps of lace on the glass.

s - nose is very barrel heavy leading with wood and mustiness. soft cocoa powder and milk stout in the background.

t/m/o - again, the barrel seems to lead the way, but not with a big bourbon, but more of a musty wood vibe. the beer is soft, almost porter like and fairly light in general for a BBA. easy enough to drink but i think that the barrel doesn't really do much for the brew. no big booziness, no lush chocolate...just a musty woody milk stout...not bad, not great, somewhere between ok and pretty good.

Jan 15, 2015
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orcrist_cleaver from New York

3.29/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: The packaging is the most glamorous thing about this beer. A swing top wine bottle with blue waxing a la Makers. Pours jet black, very light tan, dirty snow head. Little carbonation, very porous head.

S: Very sweet on nose. Bourbon elements mixing with lactose. Vanilla and wood mostly with a touch of chocolate.

M: Too thin, loose body; but sticky. Low carbonation.

T: To be fair Widow Jane bourbon is some of the smoothest and sweetest tasting bourbon I've had. This beer is similarly sweet with some nice wood accents on the back. The unbarreled rendition of Mother's Milk was better than this to be fair. Maybe the abv of mother's milk checking in at 5.5 has something to do with such a poor crossover. This is a clear instance where the sum is not greater than the parts.

Nov 30, 2014
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KornWallace from New York

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Date: 11/18/14
Location: Port Chester Beer Distributor
Draught/Bottle: 750ml Growler w/ waxed swing cap
Glassware: Snifter

Appearance: A Black/Dark brown colored beer with Ruby to brown highlights towards its edging. Tan to mocha head that dies quickly with the carbonation never to be seen again. No cling or lacing of any kind.
Aroma: The Widow Jane bourbon imparts the opening aromas including Werther's caramel candies, some dark fruit like raspberry and a little wood. The beer base jumps in at this point with muted flavors of lactose.
Taste: The bourbon again starts us off with sweet caramel, and wood. The mix with the lactose is quite sweet but there is something about the lactose in this bourbon barreled mixed stout seems to sour for me. Some of the chocolates come There is some alcohol warmth in the flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. One of the lightest bodied bourbon barreled stouts I've ever had. Very thin in mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Doesn't play a part in the mouthfeel of the beer.

Notes: My very first bourbon barreled milk stout. I wasn't a fan of the waxing on the swing cap. It felt like parts of wax could easily fall into the growler.

Nov 19, 2014
Mother's Milk Widow Jane Bourbon Barrel Aged from Keegan Ales
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 55 ratings