Five Cream, Seven Sugar

Brewery and Country of Origin: Stone Brewing Company of 1999 Citracado Pkwy, Escondido, San Diego, California 92029, USA

Date Reviewed: 2-19-15

We've never really been coffee people, but for whatever set of crazy reasons, we do love the taste of a good coffee flavored beer. Stouts and Porters are usually the beers that deliver real coffee flavors, though occasionally other dark malt based styles do as well. Typically, two ingredients can be used to impart a coffee or espresso type flavor and aroma: malt and actual coffee. Many dark brews labeled as a coffee type ale or lager use only a type of dark roasted coffee malt which gives off a burnt, bitter, sometimes semi-sweet chocolate and coffee type aroma and flavor, as well as a dark color, and a full body. Malt is the primary ingredient in traditional beer which provides the sugars used in fermentation. If the brewer's intent is to make a cream/milk type of coffee stout, then milk sugar is used as an added creamy and sweet aspect. As we've discussed in earlier reviews and things, milk sugar (lactose) isn't fermentable by the yeasts used in making beer, so the brew remains sweet even after the yeast has done its part. Coffee beers may sometime also incorporate actual coffee beans in their mash in order to gain an even richer flavor and aroma. This particular example from Stone, uses roast beans from San Diego's Ryan Bros coffee roasters in the mash to bring out a fully fledged coffee experience. This, along with every other example of coffee beer which use actual coffee beans in their brewing, shows how brewermasters can use real ingredients like coffee beans, cream/milk, lobster, oysters, and peppers to craft a really unique sensory experience. And since the craft beer revolution has taken off in America, breweries have been increasingly willing to be inventive and experimental with their products. We're hoping that, while the global beer industry never considers abandoning traditional styles, it does become more diverse through pushing what is generally considered as acceptable in beer society. And if more styles and more takes on remixing tradition are pushed to the shelves, that ultimately leads to better choice for us all. This also shows that beer, as complicated as it can be to master, is still made of real, natural ingredients that anyone can get their hands on.
Date Sampled: 12-03-15 At: 7 Priscilla Road, Brighton, Boston, MA 02135, USA
Beer Style: American Milk/Sweet Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 4.20%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 16 oz Tumbler Glass
Rating: 3.48


This stout pours smoothly with a low amount of carbonation action, producing a tan colored, eighth inch tall foam head with a high density, somewhat creamy texture, and a low retention rate. This beer has a dark brown color, almost completely black and opaque with no shine and only a very dull glow even in bright light. This beer is still clear and filtered with no visible sediment, no settling, and a low amount of effervescent effect. This beer displays a moderate amount of lacing on the glass.


As indicated by this beer's style and name, immediately present is a strong, dark roasted coffee/espresso malty aroma seasoned with some vanilla and dark chocolate secondaries. This beer's aroma also includes some earthy undertones as a foundation, and is balanced with a bit of dull, subtle hop floral notes. This beer's aroma is pretty strong overall and contains no alcohol or metallic tinges.


This is a medium full bodied brew with a heavy weight and a medium high viscosity. This beer has a below average amount of carbonation, a smooth and creamy texture with no crispness or refreshment. Despite a low alcohol content, this beer is a sipping beer best suited for the late fall to early spring months. This beer's finish is fairly dry with a lingering effect. This beer contains no alcohol bite or warming.


This beer's flavor profile starts off immediately with a dark, toasted bitter coffee and dark chocoalte malt presence which is accented with a hint of vanilla spice flavor. This beer is somewhat balanced with a weak presence of a dull, yet bitter and somewhat floral hops. This brew is sweet overall with a slightly creamy taste. This beer finishes dry with a bittersweet coffee aftertaste which doesn't contain any alcohol taste. This beer has a somewhat strong and bold malty flavor overall.

Our Take

Perhaps the most notable quality of this stout is its rather low alcohol content, which at a meager 4.20%, wouldn't even be considered average for the style. That doesn't mean that this beer is designed for the beach and bikini weather. In fact, this low strength beer drinks like one double it. This is in fact, quite a heavy drinking beer which is better sipped than chugged, and perhaps more suitable for the colder months, though with a caveat, as this beer doesn't deliver any big stout like alcohol induced warming effect. Still, this brew does offer some big beer flavors, especially in the malt driven category. This is a coffee and creamy beer, as described by its name, and it delivers these flavors in somewhat balanced fashion, with a noticeable, but subtle presence of hops. That said, this beer doesn't have any overpowering notes, and its low strength means you can enjoy big bold beer stout flavors without getting too drunk on a single bomber. This beer's hoppy notes are unfortunately a bit too dull and stale for our taste, and it seems like this beer's stature would disappoint some when they find out that a normal light beer would include more potency. Still, if you are only interested in the taste of a very coffee and chocolate filled brew, especially one that's sessionable to an extent, this stout should be what you're looking for. This beer's coffee and creamy taste makes it a great pairing option for meat pie, mellow, soft cheeses, vanilla ice cream, pork, cheese pasta, raw shellfish, and a case of Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies.