Steel Toe Stout | Ska Brewing Co.

100 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Steel Toe StoutSteel Toe Stout

Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2006

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 271
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
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...

 467 characters

Photo of bort11
4.15/5  rDev +11%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of KingPuuChuu
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
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.


 329 characters

Photo of biglite351
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 349 characters

Photo of jmvecchio1
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 345 characters

Photo of birchstick
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

 659 characters

Photo of u2carew
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 394 characters

Photo of readbaron
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

 332 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 1,390 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 284 characters

Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.15/5  rDev +11%
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.)

 1,286 characters

Photo of GabrielM
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 886 characters

Photo of Tone
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 548 characters

Photo of bamadog
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

 1,508 characters

Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

 1,751 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 368 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.22/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of genek
2.91/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

 352 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This little gem was sent as an extra in one of my awesome trades here on BA and has been sitting in my fridge for almost 9 months. Bottled in July, presumably last year.

Pours black with very little head. Nice and syrupy consistency to boot.

The nose has everything a milk stout should have. Lots of chocolate, caramel, coffee, and sweet cream fill my nose. I love the smell of this beer.

The taste has the sweetness up front, like a chocolate beer milkshake, with a little coffee and tobacco finish.

The feel is nice and creamy, yet not as thick as it looked coming out of the bottle. The carbonation is as low as expected, but still appropriate for the feel and style.

I don't know what took me so long to finally drink this beer. I'm definitely glad I did and it looks like I'll have to find more soon.

 810 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark, dark burgundy color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left behind streaky lace on the glass.

S - Mostly smelled of milk chocolate with some toffee notes, too.

T - It tasted of milk chocolate and rich roasted malt. There was a touch of toffee and caramel flavors, too.

M - It was soft and smooth, almost milky smooth. A light to medium bodied stout.

D - This is a fine milk stout. Good flavor and very easy drinking.

 456 characters

Photo of Beaver13
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark brown-black with a thin head that quickly goes to a thin collar that leaves little lacing.

The aroma is roasted grains, chocolate, and some coffee.

The flavor is roasted malts, some sweet lactic chocolate and a touch of coffee with a medium acidic roasted bitter finish that lingers nicely. The mouthfeel is medium to full with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I liked this stout - lots of nice roast and coffee. A nice surprise. I'll have to pick up more of this.

 490 characters

Photo of rapidsequence
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Appearance: Barely black with lots of dark red shining through. Brief duration of the head. Lots of spotty lacing. A little too light in color, but otherwise good.

Smell: Roasty, chocolate, coffee, and a slight sourness. Its very sweet smelling, and the roastiness is very nice and not burnt. I'm not a fan of that sour twinge that's sometimes found in sweet stouts or dry stouts-- this has a little of that.

Taste: Solid. Sweet and roasty. Bitter chocolate more than coffee in the flavor. Pretty abruptly clean on the finish.

Mouthfeel: It feels kind of thin, but not super light for the style. Smooth in the mouth and a little creamy.

Drinkability: This is a solid beer, but not fantastic. I'd drink more than one.

 735 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint glass.

A: Deep garnet, but not dark enough by stout standards. More of a port look. A soapy cream head has OK retention and leaves bits of lace.

S: Chocolate, molasses and very mild amount of espresso. There's a slight burnt aroma in the background.

T: Pretty sweet out front. Chocolate is the most prevalent flavor. A slight malted milk theme is at work too. Bitterness is very mild and appropriately stout like in its burnt flavor. Finishes with lingering chocolate and burnt malt flavors.

M: The body is smooth in the mouth and has just about the right amount of carbonation.

D: A nice drinkable beer. Nothing super special, but good overall.

 677 characters

Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes: 7/5/09
Ska Brewing Co.
Steel Toe Stout, Working Class Milk Stout
Milk/Sweet Stout
?% Abv.
12oz. Bottle into Frog and Peach Pint Glass

Another shout to my Mom for bringing back all these SKA beers for my birthday. Awesome...

Appearance= Vigorous pour into F&P pint glass yields a 2 1/2 finger tan head. Good head retention. Black/Brown opaque body with minimal carbonation. Nice lacing on the sides of glass, did I mention good head retention?

Smell= Good nose. Coffee, a lil' choco.

Taste= Bananas?, choco, malt. Good taste.

Mouthfeel= Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability= High. I poured this beer, then I got a phone call, took it outside and in 10 min I looked down and it was gone. Enjoyed it to the last drop.

 726 characters

Photo of Mayhem976
4.66/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Very dark, light does passes through and I can see a slight brown color, great creamy milky white head lacing is about the best I've ever seen in a stout. Very impressed on the appearance, almost looks like a milk shake.

S- Heavy lactose smell with undertones of coffee chocolate and slight bit of hops.

T- Heavy on the lactose, finishes of semi sweet with hints of coffee, not overly sweet like some other stouts I've tasted but just enough to give you a great flavor. I can taste some hops and I think this is what causes the stout from being overly sweet.

M- Not overly creamy like I though it would be but still pretty milky and smooth.

D- Exceptional to say the least, when I'm not experimenting with specialty porters and stouts this will be my go to every day beer.

 779 characters

Steel Toe Stout from Ska Brewing Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 271 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.