Mackeson Triple XXX Stout | Whitbread PLC

667 Ratings
Mackeson Triple XXX StoutMackeson Triple XXX Stout

Brewed by:
Whitbread PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
XXX version is for the export market.

Added by Todd on 03-03-1998

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Ratings: 667 |  Reviews: 530
Photo of afinepilsner
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle
This beer is opaque black even when held to a light. There is a small brown head with little lacing. There is a nice roasty smell. The flavor is toasty with hints of chocolate and coffee. This is a fairly full bodied brew with a creamy mouthfeel. This is a good beer.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pitch black with a dark gingerbread head that lingers in a solid 1/4" hcovering the top of the beer. Strong espresso bean scent, traces of milk chocolate. Taste is smoothfrom start to finish, with a chocolate milk flavor that shifts into a vinous coffee flaovr. Body is as full as anything, again, like a glass of choclate milk. Delicious.

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Photo of shapudding
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Georgeously pitch chocolately brown dark with a wonderfully light brown creamy head. Scents of coffee, espresso and chocolate. Scents of cigarettes -not fresh tobacco, but an ashtray... But yet the scents are still great. Taste of espresso and chocolate, darkened toast, toffee, bit of vanilla, maybe a bit of rum. Bit oakey. Vanilla vodka comes to mind. Very easy drinking, such really good flavors. Not a heavy stout at all. Really enjoyed this one!!

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decorative label espousing "Roasted & chocolate malts with lactose, sugar, unique bittersweet."

Pous out nearly all blck/brown without any light escaping through, undera khaki brown ring cap head. Some warming swirls pull up darn near dark brown froth with plenty of lace coating.

Roasted and toasted malt aromas met with maple syrup and cocoa scents.

First swigs: Chocolate milk powder mix and roasted malts turns slightly into an ashtray hint. Toasted pumpernickel bread and walnuts. Dry, short lived aftertaste of coffee yogurt.

Medium to full bodied dry stout. A bit overly roasted to be a highly quaffable brew.

Last swigs: Heavy stouts are ok, in my BA book, but the lactose milk stout aspect is a bit elusive to me. Thanks to Shapudding for the offering.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer a number of times now and I look forward to the next time with great excitement. This is the first time I've drunk the beer with a critical eye (knowing I would be reviewing it) and I've walked away more impressed than ever.

The stout pours a dark chocolate brown with a thick head the color of hot cocoa. The head sticks around for the entire drink, leaving quite a bit of deep tan lacing on the sides of the glass.

The nose is incredibly inviting - notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee and malt. The overall impression is a sweet, warm smell that just begs for a taste.

This may be the first time I rate a brew's taste "exceptional" but that's exactly how I'd describe it. At first you notice the light sweetness of the caramel and malt, followed by coffee and chocolate. There's the slightest hint of hops at the end, just enough to keep this from being overly sweet. What impresses me the most is how well balanced the flavors are - this is sweet but far from sugary, dark but far from bitter. The fine carbonation leaves a slight fizz on the tongue which does a great job of lightening the taste (this is far from being a "heavy" brew)

As far as drinkability goes, let me just say this: if I were limited to only one brand, it would probably be this one. This is such a balanced and inviting brew that I just can't say enough good things about it.

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Photo of axisjones
4.92/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an incredible stout! After hearing about this one for a while i picked up a 6 pack.
Appearance- Black as night with a light brown hazelnut colored head, nice and thick if poured right. There are beautiful burgundy tints with light passing through.
Smell- So appetizing. Rich mocha smell with caramel and toast notes. Pretty sweet but nicely burnt as well. I would wear this as cologne if i could.
Taste- After reading alot of reviews i had an idea of what this would taste like. I was wrong, it was so much better than what i imagined. Rich espresso flavors ride in strong and caramel and chocolate smooth out the flavor with a creamy milk feel. The bitterness in the back is clean and light. The alcohol is pretty much hidden under all the richness.
Mouthfeel- Full mouthfeel, very rich and creamy.
I could drink this beer all night long. One calls for another and so on. Excellent stout.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This appears an opaque black with a head that sky rocketed up to a little above the glass and was a nice dark tan color. Good retention on the head as it collapsed into a rocky landscape and sheets of lacing were left as this was drank. The scents of dark chocolate, cream and roasted malt make up the majority of the nose and it is quite appetizing. Roasted malt and chocolate hit the palette first with this as a creamy taste comes in after with a nice sweetness. There are notes of espresso in this and it ends with a nice bittersweet finish. While having a nice silky feel in the mouth the body seemed a bit thinner than it should have been. Great drinkability as the sweetness is not overdone and the balancing bitter flavor adds a nice complexity to this wonderful stout. By far the best milk stout I have ever had.

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Photo of EvilFlyingCow
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My cousin told me this one was terrible, he said it tasted like soy sauce, so I just had to try this one.

Boy was he wrong. This beer was great! It poured a dark, oily color with a small head.

It smelled of dark chocolate malts and a hint of coffee.

Delightfully smooth taste, dark chocolate stout with mild carbonation.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, with more of a kick than some stouts.

Good drinkablility, starts tasting a bit sweeter after two or three bottles.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was an excellent stout, although the three times I've had it the sweetness level has varied a little bit.

This was an EXTREMELY dark brown beer, almost black, with a huge tan head that stayed around a while.

The aroma was of sweet roasted malt, and was quite strong.

The taste was sweet, smooth, and had a lot of roasted coffee flavor, without bitterness. There was not a lot of carbonation.

Mouthfeel was excellent... smooth and creamy and just the right viscosity.

I would have given it higher on drinkability, but I think it would be hard to down more than two or three of these in one sitting, the flavor is just so intense.

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Photo of Zorro
4.41/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Pours a coal black fluid that was impervious to all my attempts to pass light through it.

Smell is very fruity and full of chocolate and coffee scents, mild sour note to the smell too. Combines the best of a stout and a top of the line British pale ale.

Mildly sweet and full flavored while avoiding the harsh burned taste that some stouts have. Taste starts mild and very fruity in flavor and then goes to chocolate and coffee. An excellent brew to introduce those scared of stouts to the style.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Super drinkable brew with a delightful flavor, a great beer for those afraid of dark beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Picked up as a single in Trader Joes along with the disappointing Whitbread Pale Ale for sentimental reasons. Another 12 ounce brown glass bottle that has a very distinctive label that somewhat errantly gives the first impression that this is the classic UK Whitbread Mackesons, of course this no longer exists and it is now a contract brew that is a Bastard child of some Ohio Brewery. Still, silly old Sentimental inquisitive me purchased it!!

Appearance: I actually decided to follow tradition here, and I used a UK Half Pint Glass. It proved to still have the looks that I remember from my youth. Dark brown, almost black stout with a rich, full, deep, creamy brown head, it lasts for a short while but soon rescinds to a thin covering. Nice lacing. The use of a Half Pint Glass allows sloppy pours and frequent top-ups, and this will aid in reinstating the head. Half-decent conditioning.

Nose: Hmmm, just as I remember. Burnt sugars, roasted barley malts, lactose sugars with the odor of a pan of whole cream milk that is just about to come to the boil. Dark chocolates that smells sweet, if that is not a contradiction.

Taste: Roasted malts, milk gums, lactose and dark chocolate mixed with a creamy texture really present all the classic ingredients of a Milk Stout. Sweetness is there, but balanced, it pivots nicely.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy feel, silky smooth. Sweet caramel body, with a watery toffee feel. A tad thin, but suppable.

Drinkability: A tasty brew, and if you remember that this is not just a Stout, but a Milk Stout, then the sweetness and roasted flavors soon mingle nicely with the silky feel. Surprisingly quaffable, I would have been tres pissed with myself if I got a 6 pack of the Whitbread Pale Ale, but not really that bothered at all if I had picked up a pack of this, I would have drunk it no problems.

Overall: As with the “Whitbread” Pale Ale, I bought this for purely inquisitive and sentimental reasons, yet unlike the Pale Ale, I found this to be a rather palatable offering. This is certainly a beer from Bygone Days for sure, a classic Milk Stout. As a Child I distinctly remember visits to many a smoky UK Working Mans Club that my Dad took my in, drinking from the glasses of nearby adults, and taking to the sweeter Milk Stouts of my Aunts rather than the harsher Milds and Bitters, of my Dad, Uncles and Granddad. So I never stole a drink from my Dad, oh no, he was a Bitter Man, the bottled Mackesons was always very popular with the Wife’s & Girlfriends, along with the stronger bottled Gold Label reserved for the Grandma’s!! It’s true, and as such my Dad always had a case of Mackesons in the house at Christmas time for visiting family.

I find it incredulous and impressively ironic that thanks to modern day advertising laws, it can no longer be labeled as a “Milk Stout”, yet the use of the words of “Whitbread Est. 1749”, for me an equally misleading statement, seems to present no problem for the contract brewer and distributor - who is fooling who I wonder??

I am not sure if it is even brewed in the UK anymore, I know it was contract brewed at Ridley's [I think] when I left the UK, but they too disappeared. Nevertheless, the US version is not that bad, not as good as I remember the UK version, but maybe the 25 or so years since I first tried this have clouded my ailing memory somewhat.

Surprisingly good. Worth a try!!

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Photo of Gruntlumber
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Imagine what a perfect stout looks like when poured...Mackeson will fit that imagination. Now imagine the perfect stout aroma...again, Mackeson fits the bill. It goes down buttery smooth, definately sweet but not overpowering. Personally, I don't like really sweet beers but this is the best sweet stout I've had; still not a session beer for me, more of a dessert beer. A couple of these and I need to switch to something less cloying.

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Photo of oggg
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly, this beer pours thick and black as ebony. Barely a red tint at the edges. The head is small, less than a centimeter.

Smells mostly of chocolate, with roasted grains in the background.

Mild carbonation is good. First there is a surge of roasted grains and chocolate and a little coffee. It's restrained though, and you never get to full on burnt or intense roasted flavors. Presumably the lactose. This beer is sweet. Not a good match for sweet deserts. More than sweet enough to attenuate the bitterness. The finish is middling -- there is an excellent balance here.

Medium to full bodied. Smooth.

What a great beer. I wish I could have tried the original version from England. This strikes me as an excellent beer for newbies trying out dark beers. Good flavor without overpowering bitterness. Note: you have to be in the mood or situation that calls for a sweet beer.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours with a medium brown head that dissiaptes rather quickly to a lacy froth on the top of the beer. Color is a dark brown with amber.

Smell - Dark malt smell that we all expect from a stout.

Taste - Nice chocolate and malty taste with almond oil.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth in the mouth with carbonation dancing on your tounge. Slides cleanly over the palate and does not have much of an aftertaste.

Drinkability - I would not hesitate to order this stout in a pub above many other stouts. Very good.

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Photo of DESTRO
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

snatched a sixer at trader joes for $5.99 so that sounded like a deal to me. pours out jet black with a creamy tan head. oh snaps! it smells lovely, roasted and hearty, cocoa and coffee, maybe a hint of maple. velvety in the mouth, smooth and silky. taste is much like the aroma, flavorful and upfront. big chocolate and a nice sweetness (though not overpowering) balanced with a nice roasty character. a touch nutty even. overall a very good stout that will grace my fridge again.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another old fav..but this time it stronger. Lovelly, beautiful looking stout intense black in colour , mahogany tints barely show at the edge when held to a light, creamy tan head..that leaves a sticky lace. Very sweet coffee and creme aroma..some milk chocolate. Wonderful taste sweet fruitiness ( black currant comes to mind) then its into some creamy chocolate..and darker hints of espresso..think I can detect the ghost of hops in the after taste. very nice on the palte silky smooth yet still semi-carbonated. A very nice stout and very drinkable..this one is better than the original.

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Photo of cbl2
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Absolutely black!!! The darkest pour I've ever seen. Nice inch thick dark tan head that lingers, but leaves a nice lace as it settles.

Has a peat moss characteristic to it w/ hot cocoa/coffee aromas.

Absolutely deliscious!!! Extremely smooth mouthfeel w/ a creamed coffee flavor. The milky character definitely shines through.

Note: This has become one of my favorite beers of all time. If all other beer production in the world ceased but this one, I wouldn't be that upset.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black as ink with a medium brown coloured head that quickly disappeared. The smell is almost identical to a cup of coffee with a bit of milk and chocolate syrup. Absolutely wonderful! The taste, as well, is quite strong of coffee and chocolate with a hint of milk. Brilliant! The mouth feel is really smooth and creamy and there is almost no carbonation at all. A most excellent stout indeed! This is, however, a bit heavy and quite filling, but still absolutely amazing none the less. Will buy again!

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.91/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black pour with a big tan head, creamy and foamy. Coffee and sweet chocolate milk aroma. Mild grapey acidity on the tongue, slight slice of grassy bitterness in the finish. Smooth and quaffable to be sure, but I can’t say I like those milky/creamy stouts that much. The lactose make it seem to me less beer-like than most fruit beers. The full body could use a touch more carbonation, it’s almost still as it is. Low complexity level. Not my cup of tea...

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Photo of mattcrill
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes in a standard 12 oz. black bottle. Really dug the emblem on the front of the bottle. No special freshness or brewed date.
Pours black as night with a brown, light head. No lace to speak of.
Smell: Roasted malts and coffee. Pretty classic smelling stout
Taste: I was suprised how dry this was. Maybe my expectations were too high but I assumed it would taste a little sweeter for a milk stout. Was still very complex tasting with dark malts, coffee, and carmel overtones. A very good stout
Drinkability: Very easy going down. This is an excellent example of a stout but again, I thought it was too dry. Maybe I just haven't compared enough of these types of stouts. It's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the latest in the ever-rotating offerings at my local Trader Joe's. I picked one up for about 83¢ which turned out to be a nice deal.
Poured from its 12oz bottle, this milk stout had a uniformly black appearance on top of which sat a firm mocha colored head that died down to a skim. The nose had a sweet chocolatey aroma with lighter coffee and malt notes. The taste was akin to an iced mocha - sweetly chocolatey with a balancing dose of espresso over a dark malt base. This struck me as being almost overly sweet and lacking much in the way of bitterness to counterpoint the sweet. The feel was creamy and a bit thin but still pretty nice.
Overall, this brew was a nice find for TJ's. Inoffensive and mellow with no intense flavors to intimidate those trying out "dark beers" for the first time, this milk stout would be ideal to use as a introductory beer to initiate beer lovers to the world of stouts. A solid brew.

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Photo of Crosling
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not many people know that Mackeson is actually contract brewed by Boston Beer Company in Ohio. Hmm, no wonder it is so cheap.


Nose is deep and pretty intense, not sweet like I would have thought but more roasted notes and deep chocolate and coffee.

I like the flavor quite a bit. It's very good. Roasted coffee, chocolate and roasted malts. It is not as sweet as I was expecting, which is a good thing and it has some enjoyable charteristics of dry irish stouts.

Just a good beer.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is sweet, dark roast malt with a touch of alcohol.
Black and thick (not opaque). Smallish brown head.
Nice complexity to flavor with roast, chocolate, a little fruit and some malty bitterness. Lactose and roast leave a nice finishing flavor.
Mouthfeel stands out. Extremely soft, creamy and smooth, yet almost has a slippery quality like an oatmeal stout. Nice carbonation level. Seems a little thin.
IMHO this is not overly rich and sweet as some have noted. Well balanced and nicely complex.

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Photo of Mark
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This fine stout finally turned up again in my area, it had simply vanished for a few years. Needless to say I was glad to be re united. It pours a deep black and the head is malted milk brown. The head retains fairly well and lacing is fair. Strong roasty aroma that is heavy on sweet malts. Taste profile is on the sweet side, with strong roasted notes and some dark fruit. Good hopping. Not as good as I remember it, I think it's made in the states now! Still this old friend didn't let me down. A good value at 4.99 a six.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a little dark mahogany escaping the edges. Dense, creamy deep tan head. Left decent lace. Looks great!
Smells of roasted malt, chocolate and espresso. There was a mild acidity to it as well.
Tastes of dark roasted malt, rich creamy mocha and a whisper of red licorice. Finishes with a nice tangy/sweet flavor and a mild hop bitterness. Very tasty!
Seemed a little light bodied. Creamy but thin mouthfeel and good carbonation.
Great drinkability.
Got this at the local Trader Joes. I remember having this years ago and the flavor was more intense. Of course it wasn't made in Cincinnati either. Nonetheless, at $4.99 a sixer it's an outstanding Stout.

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Mackeson Triple XXX Stout from Whitbread PLC
4.04 out of 5 based on 667 ratings.
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