Lakewood’s Temptress Is The Toast of the Town.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on, and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Lakewood Brewing Company‘s Temptress.

Fast Facts on Lakewood Temptress.
Style: Imperial Milk Stout.
ABV: 9.1 percent.
IBUs (International Bitterness Units): 50.
Color: Inky, dark black.
Availability: Year-round.

Overview.
Along with Hopp Trap, Lakewood Lager and Rock Ryder, The Temptress represents one of Lakewood’s four year-round offerings. In the Winter, you can find The Temptress reimagined in seasonal form — aged in bourbon barrels for an extra toasty experience.

Background on Sweet and Imperial Stouts.
Milk Stouts tend to fall under the Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines as a Sweet Stout. The “Imperial” designation does complicate things a bit, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The term “Milk Stout” basically describes a stout where milk sugar (lactose) is used in the brewing process. Lactose isn’t a sugar that’s fermentable by beer yeast, so it adds more body and sweetness to the finished beer. Most Sweet Stouts will have an aroma of mild roasted grain, coffee and chocolate, with almost no hop aroma and possibly a bit of cream-like sweetness. Much like many other stouts, a Sweet Stout will pour very dark brown to black, with a creamy tan-to-brown head. You’ll notice flavors of roasted grains, coffee and chocolate with medium levels of hop bitterness. The lactose will add a medium-to-high sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium-to-full-bodied with low-to-medium carbonation that results in a creamy brew. Sweet Stouts are typically 20 to 40 IBUs and fall within a four to six percent ABV range.

Back to the “Imperial” in this Imperial Milk Stout: In terms of flavor, Imperial Stouts aren’t too drastically different from Sweet Stouts. Flavors of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and bitter hops are all still present. The biggest differences are in the strength of these flavors, as well as recipes that call for more bittering hops and much more alcohol. You’ll notice more intense roasted malts (bordering on burnt), coffee flavors (think espresso versus a standard grind), hop bitterness, and the noticeable presence of alcohol. IBUs fall within a 50 to 90 range and the ABV is eight to 12 percent.

With an Imperial Milk Stout, you can essentially expect a mash-up of a Sweet Stout and an Imperial Stout.

Appearance.
The Temptress pours a beautiful inky, silky black with a smooth, dark tan head.

Aroma.
Bury your nose in the glass and you’ll notice a little bit of roasted malts with a hint of coffee. Faint sweetness joins into the mix as the beer warms.

Flavor.
If The Temptress doesn’t get you with her aroma, she’ll certainly reel you in after you’ve enjoyed your first sip. Classic Imperial Stout flavors abound here — chocolate, toasted wood, espresso and alcohol, with a great hop bitterness. As the beer warms, the vanilla starts to develop a bit, but it’s subtle. The sweetness from the lactose cuts through all these flavors to provide a bit of needed balance. These flavors will linger on your palate for a good long while, so be ready for a beer that you can sit down for a bit and enjoy.

Mouthfeel.
It’s a heavier mouthfeel than most beers you may be accustomed to, but that’s not a bad thing. Low-to-medium levels of carbonation make this a really easy beer to enjoy.

Overall Impression.
The Temptress is one of several local beers that could easily compete on a national scale. Were it distributed nationally, it would compare with the likes of Stone’s Imperial Stout or Deschutes’ The Abyss — two Imperials that are frequently found at the Whole Foods and Central Markets of the world. The best part of this beer is that it has all the classic characteristics of an Imperial Stout, but the addition of lactose brings a sweetness and body that ups this one to its desired flavor profile balance. Without the lactose, you may find yourself saving a pint of Temptress for special occasions, or keeping it on your shelf until the mood strikes. Instead, The Temptress winds up being the rare Imperial Stout that you can enjoy on any occasion, and one that you can easily down more than a few of in a single session. Fair warning, though: The booze will sneak up on you. But any projected seasonality won’t: Our sampling was conducted outdoors in 95 degree heat, and The Temptress did not feel out of place.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Lakewood Temptress a 9.5.

Preview “On Tap” Reviews:
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Franconia Wheat: 3.

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