We Tried It: Courier staff reviews the Braxton/Graeter's mashup (Video)

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably already heard about Braxton Brewing Co.'s latest release, a black raspberry chocolate chip milk stout made with some of the same ingredients Graeter's uses in its black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream, which has been its most popular flavor for more than 25 years.
In the name of our mission of bringing knowledge to the people, we picked up a four-pack of the beer – it hit Kroger shelves throughout the Cincinnati region and in Dayton, Louisville and Lexington on Feb. 6 – and did a group tasting to see what all the hype was about. Here's what we had to say:
The Courier editorial team tested Braxton Brewing Co.'s Graeter's Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Milk Stout. Enlarge The Courier editorial team tested Braxton Brewing Co.'s Graeter's Black Raspberry… more
CORRIE SCHAFFELD | COURIER
Bill Cieslewicz, managing editor
Based on the beer’s name and the attractively designed can, I expected an explosion of black raspberry-chocolate flavors. I also expected not to like it at all since I prefer my beer to taste like beer and not be dolled up with exotic spices, flora and fruity flavors. Much to my delight, it tasted very similar to a traditional milk stout, which I love. I could barely detect any chocolate or raspberry flavors – perhaps due to a lifetime of my sinuses being destroyed by seasonal allergies. My verdict: buy it if you like milk stout (although you can find plenty of $9.99 six-pack options) but avoid it if you are seeking an infusion of black raspberry or dark chocolate or both. You won’t find it here.
Barrett J. Brunsman, reporter
Braxton's Graeter’s milk stout looks like root beer when poured into a glass. The brown head quickly fizzles away but without the noisy effervescence of soda pop. The aroma reminds me of Luden’s cherry cough drops. The initial taste is of dark chocolate, which is more bitter than milk chocolate. A raspberry flavor creeps in, but it doesn’t taste like fresh fruit. This isn’t as sweet or satisfying as a black cow with Barq’s root beer and UDF Homemade chocolate chip ice cream, and it’s not for lovers of lager.
Nikki Kingery, special sections editor
Caramel color and lack of head made it look a bit like a flat Coke in the glass. Banana hits the nose first, followed by malt. The chocolate is overpowered by a lactose tang, while the raspberry comes as a vague afternote.
Rob Daumeyer, editor
I’m not a big fan of stout-types. This beer was fine, but I didn’t taste raspberry and I doubt I could finish an entire can.
Steve Watkins, reporter
The raspberry taste is almost non-existent, which is a good thing to me because I’m not a fan of fruit beers. I tasted the hints of chocolate that added a nice flavor to the milk stout without being overpowering. And while I like stouts, I think this one tastes a little better because of the black raspberry chocolate chip influence. I tried it cold and at room temperature and found very little difference in taste.
Hannah McCartney, data editor
I'm a hop-head, and it's rare I order a beer at a bar that's not an IPA. That said, Graeter's black raspberry chip has been my favorite ice cream flavor from childhood, so I went into the tasting skeptical but optimistic. But I sorely missed that signature fizz, which is a huge part of the magic of beer for me, and I'll echo Nikki's sentiment — it looked and tasted a bit like a flat Coke at first. I think I'd enjoy this as a novelty as part of a tasting, but I'd probably not be interested in ordering this at the bar or bringing a four-pack home. Sorry, Graeter's, I still love thee.
Corrie Schaffeld, photographer/designer
As far as a milk stout goes it was a great beer. I was scared it would be too sweet with the raspberry. However, I had a hard time picking up the raspberry flavor at all. I would drink it again.
McCartney oversees the research and production of weekly Top 25 lists, the annual Book of Lists and special projects.
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