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The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

By Andy Murphy
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duck rabbit milk stout label detailI’ve been looking forward to drinking today’s beer, a Milk Stout from The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, NC. The Duck-Rabbit logo is a kicker (more on that later), and the subtitle on the label describes the brewery as “The Dark Beer Specialist”.

Before I go any further, let me take another moment to thank reader Kevin for making this North Carolina Beer Week possible. Your selections have been quite excellent, and I’m enjoying this leisurely tour of laid-back southern style.

Kevin’s selection for today is described on The Duck-Rabbit website as follows:

The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is a traditional full-bodied stout brewed with lactose (milk sugar). The subtle sweetness imparted by the lactose balances the sharpness of the highly roasted grains which give this delicious beer its black color.

I poured the sweet stout roughly into a hefty glass. It poured dark brown with ruby highlights and produced a medium-sized tan head that faded down to a narrow crema.

The aroma is full of roasted malt, with hints of toffee and loads of chocolate. There’s a slight astringency, too, perhaps from unconverted sugars.

duck rabbit milk stoutCreamy and surprisingly light-bodied, The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout’s taste prominently features roasted malt accented by a sweet twang. It’s at times chocolaty, nutty, and grainy — with hints of sweet fruit. Perhaps this last quality seems out of place “on paper”, but it creates a pleasant finish with the lingering and faint sense of tart cherries. It’s a taste not-unfamiliar to those who’ve mixed vodka with Kahlua, cream, and amaretto (“Toasted Almond”, anyone?).

Ah, but perhaps the taste is a bit of a Rorschach test in which I’m sensing merely what I’m predisposed to see. That would only be fitting for a beer with a logo derived from an optical illusion.

The story behind the logo is that founder Paul Philippon sought inspiration for the brewery name and logo in his past life as a university philosophy teacher. The logo comes from an image of a duck — or perhaps a rabbit — which appeared in one of Paul’s favorite philosophy books.

I’ve quite enjoyed this beer, but with the above story as background, let me argue this beer is more duck than rabbit.

Why would I think it’s more duck than rabbit?

(drum roll please)

Because this sweet, roasted Milk Stout isn’t very hoppy!

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Categories : Beer a Day



Well played, sir. Well played. :-)


A toasted almond?! I’m surprised you didn’t offer me a sip.


Given that I bought mine off the shelf last week, one would think that it would open at least as good as yours, but alas I am afraid that was not the case ~ it barely produced any head. Thinking I had perhaps not allowed it to come to temperature, I let it warm a while before drinking.

Sweet stouts / milk stouts are not a style with which I am very familiar. Duck-Rabbit’s is one of maybe just two or three that I have tried. I do appreciate the fact that the brewers seem to have worked hard to created a well-balanced beer that is creamy without being too sweet. This is a beer I have enjoyed before, and will again, I am sure.

I would also just let you know that when your year is up, I would encourage you to find any of their beers - you seem to enjoy darker beers, and I have yet to try one that I dislike from Duck-Rabbit.

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