Mackeson XXX Stout: Worse Than Amateur Porn

Dec 18, 2000

When one of your great passions in life is searching out great beers, it is inevitable that every now and then you are going to be let down. A beer that you’ve heard was good will turn out to be a dud, or a beer that you had a couple of years ago and remember being excellent turns out to be boring and listless compared to what you now drink. As much as I want every “legendary” beer to be as good as its reputation, sometimes it just isn’t in the cards. The prime example of this is Guinness Stout, a beer with a huge reputation, but no one likes it! Just kidding, there are a few deluded souls out there who still fancy Guinness’ singularly unpleasant taste, but I sure as heck am not one of them. But as bad as Guinness is, I would drink ten pints of it before I would drink another glass of one of the worst beers I’ve ever had: Mackeson XXX Stout.

I’m going to make this one brief

The Style

Mackeson is a sweet stout, a style that originated in England, and this particular brand was developed in 1907 by a dietician. The idea here is to take the full, chocolatey richness of the stout style and make it sweeter and more pleasing to the palate by adding lactose sugars, which are extracted from milk. The style was out of vogue for a long while, but Mackeson is once again popular (mores the pity) and several Japanese and American breweries are beginning to follow suit.

The “Beer”

Poured into a glass, Mackeson is completely dark black, forming a brown head that fades pretty quickly. The smell is one of those scents that make you recoil quickly with a scrunched up look on your face, like someone just handed you a glass full of rotten eggs. It is a sourish smell that is at once sugary and bitter, and not at all pleasant.

If you are unlucky enough to drink this beer, the tastes that will assault your tongue will be a high, sharp, sugary, tangy taste from the lactose that will have your toes curling and your gut roiling. Maybe you are thinking that you like milk, and that this milkiness might be a good thing. Well, a fresh milk taste might be good, but do you fancy the taste of milk that is the left-over from a bowl of Sugar Crisp Cereal, has been allowed to sit in the sun for 3 days, and was then poured into your beer? I don’t think so. Beyond the sour milk flavor, the body is thin and watery, not at all stout-like, and left completely unbalanced by a lack of any hops in the “finish.” Terrible.


This beer is a colossal blunder, an absolute dud. I strained to find even one worthwhile attribute to this beer, and the best thing I could come up with is that it looks really nice as it pours down the drain. This English beer (actually, it is now brewed in Cincinnati under English “supervision”) is to be avoided at all costs. Its hefty price tag of about $8.50 for a six pack should help discourage you from buying it just to see if I am wrong. In short, everything that could go wrong with this beer, did, and the best thing you can do is to avoid it like the plague. I know I will.

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Member: David Teykaerts
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